The timing of international expansion: Information, rivalry and imitation among Japanese firms, 1980-2002

Andrew Delios, Ajai S. Gaur, Shige Makino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Scopus citations


Sociological-based information theory and economics-based competitive rivalry theory operate as the dominant theories of interorganizational mimetic behaviour. Recent work has sought to integrate the ideas in these theories, or determine which has greater explanatory power. In this study, we juxtapose the concepts in these two theories, to illustrate the complementary nature of information-based and rivalry-based theories of mimetic behaviour. Specifically, we consider how the predictions of information-based theories are moderated by the home competitive context of the industry of a firm making an international expansion. Using a 1980 to 2002 sample of 4949 manufacturing plant entries made into 71 foreign countries by 783 publicly-listed Japanese manufacturing firms, we find that the competitive context in the home industry influences the propensity of a focal firm to imitate the actions of rival firms. Our results support our contention that the two theoretical approaches are complementary, with the complementarities extending from the limitations of each approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-195
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Management Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

Cite this