Edited by Hamid Etemad, Tage Koed Madsen, Erik S. Rasmussen and Per Servais
Chapter 8: The role of key foreign employees in successful development: do we need a wider research scope for internationalization studies?
Internationalization processes have been actively studied since the 1970s. Most studies focus on outward internationalization – especially exporting and outward foreign direct investments (FDI). Inward internationalization – like importing and inward FDI – has received less attention. Being international by some other criteria but having no cross-border outward, inward or linked/cooperative activities has often been ignored as, according to most definitions, these firms are domestic/ local. Still, some studies have suggested widening the understanding of internationalization. For example, according to Bell et al. (2003, p. 340), ‘researchers need to re-conceptualize their views on the internationalization process’. Kuivalainen and Sundqvist (2006, p. 60) state: ‘after several decades of research the concept of internationalization is still elusive’ and Mejri and Umemoto (2010, p. 157) conclude: ‘the debate about a precise definition of internationalization is still continuing’. Aharoni and Brock (2010, pp. 13–14) suggest: ‘we all need to define carefully the terms used and their applicability . . . in our relatively young field, we need to invest in clarifying our basic concepts . . . researchers need to revisit the terms like international, multinational, global, and transnational’. Sandberg (2009, p. 108), in turn, states that traditional internationalization theories ‘need to be adjusted and complemented to be suitable . . . for studying firms taking off from a turbulent emerging market as China’.
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