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Unpacking Dimensions of Foreignness: Firm-Specific Capabilities and International Dispersion in Regional, Cultural, and Institutional Space


Correspondence to: Christian Geisler Asmussen, Department of Strategic Management and Globalization, Copenhagen Business School, Kilevej 14, 2000 Frederiksberg Denmark. E-mail:


While recent research has pointed to the importance of regional strategy and the ‘interregional liability of foreignness,’ critics have pointed out that this argument obscures important differences within regions as well as the similarities across them. Bridging these diverging viewpoints, our research is designed to unpack this debate into cultural, institutional, and regional components. Using a large data set, we find that firms are significantly more dispersed across cultural and, in particular, institutional boundaries, than they are across geographically defined regional boundaries. Further, our results indicate that certain firm-specific resources influence firms' global dispersion; in particular, we find that a nuanced interplay of proprietary capabilities such as technology, marketing, and partnering capabilities has an impact on the location of firm activities.