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Keywords:

  • attention-based view of the firm;
  • global strategy;
  • top management teams;
  • social cognition;
  • multinational corporations

Abstract

Most prior research in the field of global strategy focuses on what choices executives make to build the competitive advantage of a firm, from setting up activities in different locations to coordinating the linkages between them. In this article, we shift the emphasis to how global strategies emerge in a firm by studying the processes through which top executive attention is channeled and structured. Building on the attention-based view of the firm, we develop hypotheses linking aspects of the firm's operating environment and its internal organization to its international attention—the time and effort HQ executives invest in activities, communications, and discussions aimed at improving their understanding of the global marketplace. Using primary data collected from 134 firms across a large spectrum of industries, we test and find support for our arguments.