Internationalization through Exaptation: The Role of Domestic Geographical Dispersion in the Internationalization Process

Grazia D. Santangelo, Tamara Stucchi

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We introduce the notion of exaptation to internationalization theory, a process in which a capability is re-used for a purpose and in a context different than its historical purpose and context. Specifically, we examine which domestic capabilities may be redeployed when organizations engage in cross-border M&As for the first time. We suggest that organizations exapt (re-use) coordination and control capabilities, initially developed to manage domestic geographical dispersion, to acquire and integrate external resources across borders. By analyzing 693 Indian business groups over a decade, we add to the recent effort to frame the internationalization process within evolutionary theory.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of International Business Studies
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)753–760
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Internationalization process
  • Exaptation
  • Organizational learning
  • Economic geography
  • Evolutionary theory

Cite this