The strategies of small and large international specialists

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13 Scopus citations


Falling trade barriers and corporate restructuring are resulting in the creation of international specialists, firms that focus on one line of business but with an international scope. International specialists compose the growing middle ground between diversified multinational companies and local firms. This study of 41 firms identifies two types - large and small international specialists - that differ substantially in their governance structures, resources, functional strategy, and approach to international markets. Large international specialists have abundant resources and high growth expectations, make a concerted push to dominate worldwide markets, and increase their reach over multiple stages of their industry. Small international specialists do not have strong growth motivations. They are upstream players that outsource extensively, serve intermediate users, and enter international markets selectively in ways that conserve their limited resources. Managers should consider the strategic option of becoming an international specialist in addition to the known strategic alternatives of being a domestic or a diversified multinational firm. To become international specialists, strategists need to implement several, consistent actions across functions that reinforce one another.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-266
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of World Business
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Finance
  • Marketing


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