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Closing the Knowledge Gap in Foreign Markets - A Learning Perspective

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The study explores how firms close their knowledge gaps in relation to business environments of foreign markets. Potential determinants are derived from traditional internationalization process theory as well as more recent literature on organizational learning processes, including the concept of absorptive capacity. Building on these two literature streams a conceptual model is developed and tested on a set of primary data of Danish firms and their foreign market operations. The empirical study suggests that factors considered essential in traditional internationalization process theory, such as experiential learning, explains only a very limited part of perceived knowledge gaps. When factors pertaining to the concepts of absorptive capacity and superstitious learning are added, the explanatory power improves significantly. Apparently, our understanding of firms’ internationalization processes can be enriched by insights from organizational learning literature. Key words: Internationalization, knowledge gap, absorptive capacity, superstitious learning. JEL Codes: D21, F23, M10

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Marjorie A. Lyles, Torben Pedersen, Bent Petersen

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