Drawing on performance feedback theory to develop the Uppsala internationalization model, we argue that organizational performance relative to managerial aspirations influences firms’ foreign expansion propensity as well as the type of country location. Our statistical analysis of foreign entries by Japanese machinery firms between 1976 and 2002 finds that firms performing closer to aspirations were more likely to enter foreign countries than those that under- or out-performed. Underperforming firms were also more likely to enter countries with greater cultural and geographic proximity to those in which they had already invested. Our findings contribute to international business research by identifying organizational performance conditions under which firms tend to adopt an incremental approach to foreign expansion, or else a comparatively radical one of selecting more distant or unfamiliar countries.

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Keywords Behavioral theory of the firm, Foreign direct investment, Internationalization process, Performance feedback theory
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2018.04.034
Journal Journal of Business Research
Jiang, G. F, & Holburn, G.L.F. (Guy L.F.). (2018). Organizational performance feedback effects and international expansion. Journal of Business Research, 90, 48–58. doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2018.04.034