Department of Management

Domestic Acquisition Experience and the Internationalization of Chinese Firms: The Role of Institutional Heterogeneity

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The liability of foreignness increases firm risk of doing business abroad. However, it appears not to deter Chinese firms as evidenced by their risky internationalization pattern. This study is concerned with explaining this phenomenon. Drawing on organizational learning and institutional theories, I argue that institutional heterogeneity in China gives firms an opportunity to develop routines to overcome the liability of foreignness through acquisition experience gained outside of their home provinces. Further, I propose that coastal and inland firms draw different routines from their acquisition experiences. I test these arguments on panel data of listed Chinese firms, tracing their acquisition behavior from 2006 to 2015. My analyses suggest that acquisition experience outside of home province matters and that, in the case of inland firms, coastal acquisition experience facilitates subsequent internationalization. The present study contributes to the literature on the internationalization of Chinese firms. It highlights the value of context-specific measures for Chinese management research, sheds light on the functionality of institutional heterogeneity in China, and provides evidence to re-evaluate the riskiness of Chinese firms' internationalization pattern.

Original languageEnglish
JournalManagement and Organization Review
Pages (from-to)693-714
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • China, DETERMINANTS, ECONOMIC TRANSITION, ENTERPRISES, ENTREPRENEURSHIP, FDI, FOREIGNNESS, INTEGRATION, LOCATION, MULTINATIONALS, PERFORMANCE, acquisitions, institutional heterogeneity, internationalization, liability of foreignness

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