Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Factors Affecting SME Export Channel Choice in Foreign Markets
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Centres, Centre for Banking and Finance, Cefin.
Uppsala Universitet, Företagsekonomiska institutionen.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Real Estate and Construction Management, Banking and Finance.
2006 (English)In: Advances in International Marketing, ISSN 1474-7979, Vol. 16, 1-22 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Determining market channels is usually considered a discrete decision made by the expanding firm (e.g., Anderson & Coughlan, 1987; Bello & Gilliland, 1997; Solberg & Nes, 2002). In reality, this decision is often limited by knowledge constraints and customer demands. We find an example of this in Gamma's attempt at entering the Italian market (Hohenthal, 2001). {A textbox is presented}. Gamma's attempted entry into Italy is not a unique situation facing internationalizing small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The array of possible channels is usually rather limited. A firm's decision regarding what channel to use may be the result of the firm's knowledge or indeed lack of knowledge about a specific customer and the foreign market in general, such as competitors or cultural differences. The internationalization process (IP) model is a theoretical framework that recognizes how a firm's knowledge of a foreign market and the influence business relationships may have on the choice of market channel (Johanson & Vahlne, 1977, 1990, 2003). This framework postulates that firms with increased experience will increase their commitment in a market. Because firms wish to avoid uncertainty and initially lack foreign market knowledge, the IP model claims that firms expand their operations in small sequential steps, starting with no regular export activities and gradually increasing their commitment to the market and finally setting up a manufacturing subsidiary (Johanson & Vahlne, 1977; Johanson & Wiedersheim-Paul, 1975). This outcome of sequential steps, also known as the establishment chain (Johanson & Wiedersheim-Paul, 1975), has been heavily criticized because empirical research has shown that the establishment patterns of firms are less restricted than proposed by the model (Björkman, 1989; Hedlund & Kverneland, 1985; Turnbull, 1987; Welch & Loustarinen, 1988). Even though firms use a variety of establishment patterns when internationalizing, a growing body of research shows that firms gradually develop knowledge from their experiences (Barkema, Bell, & Pennings, 1996; Barkema, Shenkar, Vermeulen, & Bell, 1997; Barkema & Vermeulen, 1998; Delios & Beamish, 1999, 2001; Eriksson, Johanson, Majkgård, & Sharma, 1997; Hitt, Dacin, Tyler, & Park, 1997; Madhok, 1996; Zahra, Ireland, & Hitt, 2000). Thus, the model's fundamental argument that knowledge is developed through experience is generally supported in internationalization research. Based on the critique of the establishment chain proposition, reconsidering the explanatory power of the IP model may be warranted. For example, it may be more appropriate to use the IP model to explain the sequential buildup of knowledge rather than discrete choices of mode of establishment. The accumulation of experience occurs before, during, and after the exact time when a decision to establish in a certain mode is made. Despite the extensive acceptance of behavioral-oriented arguments in foreign-entry mode research (export, joint venture, and subsidiary modes), surprisingly few studies have been conducted on the determinants of integrated and non-integrated channels (see Aulakh & Kotabe, 1997, for notable exception). Thus, a behavioral-oriented approach to the study of firms' choices of market channels in foreign markets may prove enlightening. Adopting this approach is of particular interest because transaction-cost analysis has proved effective in explaining why firms choose either integrated or non-integrated channels (Hennart, 1991). Therefore, the question that needs to be answered is whether or not the IP model can be used to explain why firms choose integrated or non-integrated channels. If the IP model cannot be applied in this case, it should be clarified that this model can be used to explain sequential knowledge accumulation through experience but nothing else. The purpose of this study is to test which IP-related antecedents lead to the use of a specific channel in a foreign market. The two alternatives tested here are integrated and non-integrated channels. To accomplish this objective, we apply an IP approach to international business and then discuss channel choice from a knowledge perspective. Several hypotheses are developed concerning channel choice and tested on a sample of SMEs from Sweden, Denmark, and New Zealand. We use logistic regression to analyze our data. Based on this analysis, we present a discussion of our results and some managerial and research implications.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 16, 1-22 p.
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-59581DOI: 10.1016/S1474-7979(05)16001-3OAI: diva2:475874
QC 20120111Available from: 2012-01-11 Created: 2012-01-11 Last updated: 2012-01-11Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Eriksson, KentHohenthal, JukkaLindbergh, Jessica
By organisation
Centre for Banking and Finance, CefinBanking and Finance
In the same journal
Advances in International Marketing
Business Administration

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 1494 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link