Targeting one’s own region: Internationalisation trends of Colombian multinational companies
Gonzalez-Perez, Maria Alejandra
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Purpose – This paper aims to provide an examination of the ongoing internationalisation processes undertaken by 30 major multinational Colombian-owned firms. It also presents a theoretical overview and a conceptual framework for the understanding of internationalisation patterns from emerging countries’ multinational enterprises.Design/methodology/approach – This study is built based both on the results collected from comparative case studies based in the literature and empirical observations of Colombia’s patterns. This study observed the evolution in terms of commitment and investment decisions that 30 major Colombian companies have undergone specially within the past decade.Findings – Although, it was found that direct exports is the widespread entry mode of Colombian companies to foreign markets, most of the observed firms preferred the consolidation in host markets through Mergers & Acquisitions instead of using Greenfield investments or joint ventures. These observations might suggest similarities with the process of internationalisation of Asian tigers multinationals, which means that they are consolidating their internationalisation process based on their learning, linkages and leverages capabilities. Furthermore, Colombian companies are following the internationalisation pattern of other multilatinas. These companies have first explorer natural markets for them; in other words, they have first attempt to be established in markets that share psychic features, and similar institutional environments, as psychic and physical proximity reduces risk and facilitates foreseen return of investments, and therefore long-term capital accumulation.Research limitations/implications – This study has some limitations that suggest further research. First, although the observed firms share one main characteristic: being Colombian-owned multinationals, they belong to diverse fields, so this might pose difficultly for the creation of a framework that explains other multinationals drivers to internationalise.Asecond limitation is that this analysis does not deepen into the internationalisation patterns of multilatinas from countries other than Colombia; this leaves room for further research questions that might deal with the issue of analyzing advantages and disadvantages in the internationalisation process of developing country multinational corporations (DCMCs). A third limitation is that this study does not have a longitudinal approach, so this paper does not intent to provide definitive information about cause-and-effect relationship regarding the drivers for DCMCs to internationalize, instead, this study is intended to provide an analysis of the outward foreign direct investment decisions of Colombian multinational firms.Practical implications – There is limited research based on primary data on accessing the internationalisation process of Colombian multinational companies. This paper offers a research framework and results which could be replicated in other Developing Country Multinational Corporation (DCMNC), and could also be studied longitudinally. This study includes relevant information on the drivers for international expansion, market selection, perceived obstacles, entry modes and consolidation in host markets via acquisitions that could possibly support managerial decisions.Originality/value – There is limited research based on primary data on accessing the process of internationalisation of Colombian multinational companies. This paper offers research framework and results which could be replicated in other DCMNC, and also could be longitudinally studied. This study includes relevant information on the drivers for international expansion, market selection, perceived obstacles, entry modes and consolidation in host markets via acquisitions that could eventually support managerial decisions. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
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