Working Paper Series, Department of International Economics and Management, Copenhagen Business School
Bent Petersen, Torben Pedersen and Deo Sharma
The Role of Knowledge in Firms’ internationalization Process: Wherefrom and Whereto
Abstract: Twenty-five years ago the business theorists at the
University of Uppsala in Sweden assigned knowledge a key role in their
explanation of firms’ internationalisation. Firms’ learning – or,
acquisition of knowledge - about foreign markets was pointed out as being
determining not only the speed by which firms expand internationally, but
also which regions of the world firms enter and what operation methods they
employ in the foreign markets (Carlson, 1975; Forsgren and Johanson, 1975;
Johanson and Wiedersheim-Paul, 1975; Johanson and Vahlne, 1977; Welch and
Wiedersheim-Paul, 1980). Although challenged by other alleged determinants
of firms’ internationalisation knowledge is still the centrepiece in
theories on firms’ internationalisation process. However, the understanding
of how internationalisation knowledge is acquired, retained, transformed
and transmitted has developed significantly over the past decades.
Simplicity and determinism have given way to complexity and managerial
discretion in our evolving understanding of the role of knowledge in the
internationalisation process of firms.
Keywords: Codification; tacit knowledge; managerial discretion; information and communication technology; the Internet; globalisation; (follow links to similar papers)
26 pages, June 12, 2001
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