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International alliance networks, expansion modes and coopetition uri icon


  • PurposeMultinational enterprises (MNEs) strive to expand into new markets either by exploiting their resource base or by gaining access to partner companies that own the required resources. Thus, companies face the compete–cooperate–coopete decision. The purpose of this study is to determine the effect of MNEs’ networks of interorganisational alliances, and their interaction with resource ownership, and market attractiveness, on the choice of international expansion modes, whether they are sole venture (competitive) or collaboration agreements (cooperative) or both (coopetitive).Design/methodology/approachA biprobit model is used to analyse more than 50,000 new international operations by 164 MNEs in a five-year window. A moderation analysis is carried out to reveal the interaction between network centrality, resource ownership and market size.FindingsThe results show the extent to which the competitive–collaborative contradictory forces attenuate each other in different market scenarios. This study’s contribution advances the resolution of the resource allocation dilemma by recognising the conditions for the selection of each expansion mode: sole venture, cooperation and coopetition.Originality/valueMainstream international business theory claims that firm’s own resources and transaction outcomes are generally sufficient to explain their international expansion decisions, whereas network and social capital theories focus on the role of relationships and network embeddedness. Both perspectives seem to neglect the fact that firms frequently develop both factors simultaneously. This study bridges these perspectives and reveals the interplay between resource ownership, alliance network centrality and market size for MNEs’ expansion mode choice.