Information Technology and the Internationalization of the Firm

Michael J. Mol, Otto R. Koppius

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A key concern for all multinationals is where to find a suitable location for their business activities, bearing in mind that they must find the right balance between global integration and local responsiveness. This article contributes to the internationalization debate by asking: in what sense will information technology enable globalization? We focus on the sourcing process, an area where globalization is often claimed to be the case. Re-examination of empirical evidence shows that global sourcing is not as generally predominant as is claimed. Consequently inhibitors to global integration exist and we classify these inhibitors into three categories: geographical, relational and environmental inhibitors. We then analyze the role information technology plays in reducing these inhibitors and formulate propositions that are then illustrated in two case studies. Information technology is proposed to reduce the geographical and relational inhibitors, but it will have no effect on environmental inhibitors. However, the latter category of inhibitors will become more prominent in the future. Information technology thus shifts the balance towards global integration, but simultaneously creates new problems in managing internationalization.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
JournalJournal of Global Information Management
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)44-60
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

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