Decision making in internationalization: Perspectives from organizational and entrepreneurial learning

Julie Lyder

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis is based on the commonly held assumption that internationalization is a process of knowledge development. Based on a descriptive analysis of influential conceptualizations of learning in and by organizations, a model framework is developed. The model framework emphasizes learning and decision making as a path-dependent process consisting of four phases: Learning Trigger, Knowledge Acquisition, Knowledge Integration and Knowledge application. Multilevel integration and Reasoning are omnipresent constructs influencing the characteristics of the phases and their integration. The comparative analysis of organizational learning perspectives, represented by the Uppsala internationalization model, and entrepreneurial learning reveals that the two learning perspectives have similar overall structures, but differ markedly in the mechanisms assumed to take place in the individual phases, which inhibits the understanding of learning and decision making in the process of internationalization. In order to reconcile these differences and thereby facilitate an understanding of the learning and decision making process in internationalization in general, five propositions are developed. The propositions focus on the importance of recognizing the multilevel mechanisms inherent in the process of learning and decision making in internationalization, and on the relevance of effectuation, i.e. a logic of control, as a means for leveraging main challenges of internationalization, specifically the negative effect of risk perception on internationalization and the difficulties of maintaining a balance between exploitive and explorative leaning. Internationalization is a complex phenomenon of integrated and multilevel mechanisms of learning, and it is imperative that an analysis of decision making under these circumstances reflects this multilevel character. Consequently, there is no one appropriate level of analysis for decision making in the process of internationalization, as the phenomena requires a multilevel analytical approach in order to obtain valid results.

EducationsMSc in International Business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2009
Number of pages72