Serial nonlinear internationalization in practice: A case study

Tiia Vissak, Barbara Francioni
  • International Business Review, December 2013, Elsevier
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.ibusrev.2013.01.010

What is it about?

International business scholars still pay the most attention to two firm types: (1) gradual/ step-by-step/Uppsala type internationalizers and (2) international new ventures/born globals. Serial nonlinear internationalizers (SNIs) – firms with several subsequent exits and re-entries or considerable foreign involvement fluctuations – have received almost no attention. This exploratory study aims to contribute to the emerging serial nonlinear internationalization literature by (1) discussing the nature of an Italian machinery producer’s serial nonlinear internationalization, (2) explaining why it internationalized nonlinearly and (3) developing research implications. It concludes that despite having had a year or more without export activities in 29 countries (in eight of them twice or more) and activities only in seven countries in 2011, this firm has been relatively successful. Thus, de-internationalization is not automatically a sign of failure. Moreover, subsequent de- and re-internationalizations are normal for other firms besides project businesses, especially if their markets are small and exit/re-entry costs low.

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The following have contributed to this page: PhD Tiia Vissak and Dr Barbara Francioni