Advanced

International expansion through flexible replication: Learning from the internationalization experience of IKEA

Jonsson, Anna LU and Foss, Nicolai J. (2011) In Journal of International Business Studies 42(9). p.1079-1102
Abstract
Business organizations may expand internationally by replicating a part of their value chain, such as a sales and marketing format, in other countries. However, little is known regarding how such "international replicators" build a format for replication, or how they can adjust it in order to adapt to local environments and under the impact of new learning. To illuminate these issues, we draw on a longitudinal in-depth study of Swedish home furnishing giant IKEA, involving more than 70 interviews. We find that IKEA has developed organizational mechanisms that support an ongoing learning process aimed at frequent modification of the format for replication. Another finding is that IKEA treats replication as hierarchical: lower-level features... (More)
Business organizations may expand internationally by replicating a part of their value chain, such as a sales and marketing format, in other countries. However, little is known regarding how such "international replicators" build a format for replication, or how they can adjust it in order to adapt to local environments and under the impact of new learning. To illuminate these issues, we draw on a longitudinal in-depth study of Swedish home furnishing giant IKEA, involving more than 70 interviews. We find that IKEA has developed organizational mechanisms that support an ongoing learning process aimed at frequent modification of the format for replication. Another finding is that IKEA treats replication as hierarchical: lower-level features (marketing efforts, pricing, etc.) are allowed to vary across IKEA stores in response to market-based learning, while higher-level features (fundamental values, vision, etc.) are replicated in a uniform manner across stores, and change only very slowly (if at all) in response to learning ("flexible replication"). We conclude by discussing the factors that influence the approach to replication adopted by an international replicator. Journal of International Business Studies (2011) 42, 1079-1102. doi:10.1057/jibs.2011.32 (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
primary data source, case theoretic approaches, internationalization, theories and foreign market entry, knowledge-based view, organizational, learning
in
Journal of International Business Studies
volume
42
issue
9
pages
1079 - 1102
publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
external identifiers
  • wos:000297744500002
  • scopus:82255192939
ISSN
0047-2506
DOI
10.1057/jibs.2011.32
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
a066f548-8fab-42aa-9f18-e44c2f015910 (old id 2333113)
date added to LUP
2012-02-06 15:17:09
date last changed
2017-11-12 03:44:34
@article{a066f548-8fab-42aa-9f18-e44c2f015910,
  abstract     = {Business organizations may expand internationally by replicating a part of their value chain, such as a sales and marketing format, in other countries. However, little is known regarding how such "international replicators" build a format for replication, or how they can adjust it in order to adapt to local environments and under the impact of new learning. To illuminate these issues, we draw on a longitudinal in-depth study of Swedish home furnishing giant IKEA, involving more than 70 interviews. We find that IKEA has developed organizational mechanisms that support an ongoing learning process aimed at frequent modification of the format for replication. Another finding is that IKEA treats replication as hierarchical: lower-level features (marketing efforts, pricing, etc.) are allowed to vary across IKEA stores in response to market-based learning, while higher-level features (fundamental values, vision, etc.) are replicated in a uniform manner across stores, and change only very slowly (if at all) in response to learning ("flexible replication"). We conclude by discussing the factors that influence the approach to replication adopted by an international replicator. Journal of International Business Studies (2011) 42, 1079-1102. doi:10.1057/jibs.2011.32},
  author       = {Jonsson, Anna and Foss, Nicolai J.},
  issn         = {0047-2506},
  keyword      = {primary data source,case theoretic approaches,internationalization,theories and foreign market entry,knowledge-based view,organizational,learning},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {9},
  pages        = {1079--1102},
  publisher    = {Palgrave Macmillan},
  series       = {Journal of International Business Studies},
  title        = {International expansion through flexible replication: Learning from the internationalization experience of IKEA},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/jibs.2011.32},
  volume       = {42},
  year         = {2011},
}