Competing for advantage
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Competing for Advantage. Chapter 10 International Strategy. PART III CREATING COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE. The Strategic Management Process. International Strategy. Key Terms International diversification

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Competing for advantage

Competing for Advantage

Chapter 10

International Strategy



The strategic management process

The Strategic Management Process

International strategy

International Strategy

  • Key Terms

    • International diversification

      Strategy through which a firm expands the sales of its goods or services across the borders of global regions and countries into different geographic locations or markets

International strategy1

International Strategy

International strategy2

International Strategy

  • Key Terms

    • International strategy

      Strategy through which the firm sells its goods or services outside the domestic market

Incentives for using an international strategy

Incentives for Using an International Strategy

  • Increased market size

  • Greater returns on major capital investments or on investments in new products and processes

  • Greater economies of scale, scope, or learning

  • Potential for competitive advantage(s) based on location

Market size

Market Size

  • Limited domestic economies or growth opportunities

  • Both opportunities and challenges in emerging markets

  • Impact of local cultures and customs

  • Impact of international market size

  • Extended product life cycle

Return on investment

Return on Investment

  • Large investment projects may require global markets to justify the capital outlays.

  • Weak patent protection in some countries implies that firms should expand overseas rapidly in order to preempt imitators.

Economies of scale scope and learning

Economies of Scale, Scope, and Learning

  • Expand size or scope of markets to achieve economies of scale

  • Spread costs over a larger sales base

  • Increase profit per unit

Location advantages

Location Advantages

  • Competitive advantages are available in low cost markets

  • Access to critical resources:

    • Raw materials

    • Low-cost factors of production

    • Low-cost labor

    • Key customers

    • Energy

    • Other natural resources

Expanding internationally

Expanding Internationally

  • Type of expansion approach

  • How to use distinctive competencies to create advantages

  • Mode of entry into new markets

International corporate level strategies

International Corporate-Level Strategies

  • Key Terms

    • International corporate-level strategy

      Strategy which focuses on the scope of a firm’s operations through both product and geographic diversification

International scope

International Scope

Worldwide Presence





  • Trade agreements and institutions

  • Ability to understand the cultures, legal and social norms, and other factors that are important for effective competition in specific markets

  • Sequential market entry

Liability of foreignness

Liability of Foreignness

Liabilities associated with being a foreign business in a highly different business environment can make competing on a worldwide scale risky and expensive.

  • Employment contracts and labor forces differ.

  • Host governments make different demands and requirements to compete in their markets.

  • Understanding customers may be difficult.

International corporate level strategies1

International Corporate-Level Strategies

Multidomestic strategy

Multidomestic Strategy

  • Key Terms

    • Multidomesticstrategy

      International strategy in which strategic and operating decisions are decentralized to the strategic business unit in each country to allow that unit to tailor products to the local market

    • Worldwide geographic area structure

      Organizational structure which emphasizes national interests and facilitates the firms' efforts to satisfy local or cultural differences (used to implement the multidomestic strategy)

Maximizing local responsiveness

Maximizing Local Responsiveness

  • Focus on variations of competition within each country

  • Customize products to meet specific needs and preferences of local customers

  • Decentralize decisions to business units in each country

  • Compete in industry segments most affected by differences among local countries

Effects of a multidomestic strategy

Effects of a MultidomesticStrategy

  • Expands the firm’s local market share

  • Maximizes competitive responsiveness to local conditions

    • Establishes protected market positions

  • Isolates the firm from global competitive forces

  • Lowers efficiency levels

  • Increases uncertainty

Worldwide geographic area structure

Worldwide Geographic Area Structure

Global strategy

Global Strategy

  • Key Terms

    • Global strategy

      International strategy through which the firm offers standardized products across country markets, with the competitive strategy being dictated by the home office

    • Worldwide product divisional structure

      Organizational structure in which decision-making authority is centralized in the worldwide division headquarters to coordinate and integrate decisions and actions among divisional business units (used to implement the global strategy)

Maximizing global integration

Maximizing Global Integration

  • Integrate interdependent strategic business units operating in each country

  • Emphasize economies of scale

  • Share resources across country boundaries

  • Centralize decisions at the home office

  • Utilize innovations developed at the corporate level or in one country in other markets

Effects of a global strategy

Effects of a Global Strategy

  • Maximizes integration across business units

  • Produces standardization

  • Lowers risk

  • Fosters a shared vision of the firm’s strategy

  • Lowers responsiveness to local needs and preferences

  • Permits missed opportunities in local markets

  • Reduces effectiveness of learning processes

  • Adds management complexity

Worldwide product divisional structure

Worldwide Product Divisional Structure

Transnational strategy

Transnational Strategy

  • Key Terms

    • Transnational strategy

      International strategy through which the firm seeks to achieve both global efficiency and local responsiveness

    • Flexible coordination

      Building a shared vision and individual commitment through an integrated network

    • Worldwide combination structure

      Organizational structure in which characteristics and mechanisms are drawn from both the worldwide geographic area structure and the worldwide product divisional structure (used to implement the transnational strategy)

Worldwide combination structure

Worldwide Combination Structure

  • Assets and operations may be centralized/decentralized

  • Functions may be integrated/nonintegrated

  • Relationships may be formal/informal

  • Coordination mechanisms may leverage efficiency/flexibility

  • Mandates to subsidiaries may be global/specialized-contribution/localized-implementation

Role of subsidiaries

Role of Subsidiaries

  • Global Mandate

  • Specialized Contribution

  • Local Implementation

Requirements of a combination structure

Requirements of a Combination Structure

  • Strong educational component to support the culture

  • Adaptation of core competencies in local economies to gain competitive benefits

  • Effective corporate headquarters to foster leadership, shared vision, and strong corporate identity

  • Centers of excellence to foster multiple and dispersed capabilities

Developments for multinational firms

Developments for Multinational Firms

  • Emphasis on global efficiency is increasing as more industries begin to experience global competition

  • Emphasis on local requirements is also increasing

  • Multinational firms desire coordination and sharing of resources across country markets to hold down costs

  • Some products and industries are more suited than others for standardization across country borders

International business level strategy

International Business-Level Strategy

Determinants of national advantage

Determinants of National Advantage

Modes of entry and their characteristics

Modes of Entry and Their Characteristics



  • Low cost way to establish operations in host country

  • Often through contractual agreements

  • High transportation costs

  • Potential for tariffs

  • Low control over marketing and distribution



  • Low cost way to expand internationally

  • Risks absorbed by licensee

  • Low control over manufacturing and marketing

  • Lower potential returns (shared with licensee)

  • Risk of imitation by licensee

  • Ownership arrangements often inflexible

Strategic alliances

Strategic Alliances

  • Fewer entry resources and costs required

  • Shared risks and resources

  • Potential core competency development

  • Possible partner incompatibility, conflict, or lack of trust

  • Management difficulties



  • Quick access to market

  • Costly

  • Possible integration difficulties

  • Complex negotiations and transaction requirements

New wholly owned subsidiary

New Wholly Owned Subsidiary

  • Costly mode of entry

  • High process complexity

  • Maximum control

  • Highest potential returns

  • High risk

Mode of entry dynamics

Mode of Entry Dynamics

Strategic outcomes

Strategic Outcomes

  • International Diversification and Returns

  • International Diversification and Innovation

    International Diversification and Risk

International diversification and returns

International Diversification and Returns

  • Economies of scale and experience

  • Location advantages

  • Greater market size

  • Stability of returns

  • Lower overall firm risk

  • Exploitation of core competencies

  • Knowledge resource sharing

  • Global scanning for opportunities

  • Structural flexibility

International diversification and innovation

International Diversification and Innovation

  • Access to larger and more markets

  • Lower R&D investment risk

  • Exposure to new products and processes

  • Opportunity to integrate new knowledge into operations

  • Generation of resources to sustain innovation efforts

Risks in an international environment

Risks in an International Environment

  • Political risks

  • Economic risks

  • Other formal institutional risks

Political risks

Political Risks

  • Government instability

  • Conflict/war

  • Government regulations

  • Conflicting and diverse legal authorities

  • Potential nationalization of private assets

  • Government corruption*

  • Changes in national leadership

  • Changes in government policies

Economic risks

Economic Risks

  • Differences and fluctuations in currency values

  • Investment losses due to political risks

  • Potential infrastructure or financial system damage from major disasters

Complexity of managing multinational firms

Complexity of Managing Multinational Firms

  • Geographic dispersion

  • Costs of coordination

  • Logistical costs

  • Trade barriers

  • Cultural diversity

  • Barriers to competitive advantage transfer

  • Host governments

Ethical question

Ethical Question

As firms internationalize, they may be tempted to locate facilities where product liability laws are lax in testing new products. Is this an acceptable practice? Why or why not?

Ethical question1

Ethical Question

Regulation and laws regarding the sale and distribution of tobacco products are stringent in the U.S. market. What are the ethical implications of U.S. firms pursuing marketing strategies for tobacco products in other countries that would be illegal in the United States?

Ethical question2

Ethical Question

Some companies outsource production to firms in foreign countries to save money. To what extent is a company morally responsible for the way workers are treated by the firms in those countries to which they outsource production?

Ethical question3

Ethical Question

Global and multidomestic strategies call for different competitive approaches. What ethical concerns might surface when firms try to market standardized products globally? When should firms develop different products or approaches for each local market?

Ethical question4

Ethical Question

Are companies morally responsible to support the U.S. government as it imposes trade sanctions on other countries, such as China, because of human rights violations? What if a significant amount of its international business is in one of those countries?

Ethical question5

Ethical Question

Latin America has been experiencing significant changes in both political orientation and economic development. What strategies should foreign international businesses implement, if any, to influence government policy in these countries? Can businesses realistically expect to influence political changes?

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