International Experience in International Business Research: A Conceptualization and Exploration of Key Themes
Article first published online: 1 JUN 2012
© 2012 The Authors. International Journal of Management Reviews © 2012 British Academy of Management and Blackwell Publishing Ltd
International Journal of Management Reviews
How to Cite
Clarke, J. E., Tamaschke, R. and Liesch, P. W. (2012), International Experience in International Business Research: A Conceptualization and Exploration of Key Themes. International Journal of Management Reviews. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2370.2012.00338.x
- Article first published online: 1 JUN 2012
International experience, the experience that firms accrue from operating internationally, is a key concept in explaining firm internationalization. This paper reviews the conceptualization of international experience in the international business literature. It highlights how prior research has identified three dimensions of the international experience construct (length, scope and diversity), thereby demonstrating that international experience should be treated as a multidimensional construct. In addition, intensity is presented as a fourth and novel dimension of international experience. The importance of this multidimensional conceptualization is highlighted in an explanation of why the international diversification and international experience constructs are not synonymous. In light of the importance of international experience in explaining firm internationalization, the authors explore how the source of the firm's international experience will determine the limits to its application in foreign markets. In particular, the authors distinguish between location-bound international experience and non-location-bound international experience as sources of firm-specific advantages (FSAs). The FSAs that the firm develops from its experience with equity and non-equity entry modes are presented as examples of specific FSAs developed within the firm's bundle of FSAs concerning internationalization. The paper concludes with some implications of the conceptualization of international experience for several issues of international business research as well as providing managerial implications.