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Mode Combinations and International Operations

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An enduring characteristic of extant literature on foreign operation modes is itsdiscrete choice approach, where companies are assumed to choose one among a smallnumber of distinctive alternatives. In this paper we use detailed information about the operations of six Norwegiancompanies in three key markets (China, UK and USA) as the basis for an explorationof the extent to which, and how and why, companies combine clearly different foreignoperation modes. We examine their use of foreign operation mode combinationswithin given value activities as well as within given countries.The study reveals that companies tend to combine modes of operation; therebyproducing unique foreign operation mode “packages” for given activities and/orcountries, and that the packages are liable to be modified over time – providing apotentially important optional path for international expansion.Our data show considerable variation across cases; ranging from extensive use ofmode combinations to a singular focus on a specific mode of operation. The studycontributes to a refinement of our understanding of the path of internationalisation,and throws up a number of awkward theoretical questions about the process.

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Gabriel R. G. Benito, Bent Petersen, Lawrence S. Welch

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