Abstract

Internationalization, or expansion of firm sales to foreign countries, is a critical strategic decision for firms of all types (Hitt et al., 2006). Yet, this strategy is particularly risky for firms completing an initial public offering (IPO) (Filatotchev & Piesse, 2009; Shrader et al., 2000). For instance, internationalization can expose an IPO firm to liability of foreignness (Lu & Beamish, 2001), which is defined as the sum of ‘additional costs a firm operating in a market overseas incurs that a local firm would not incur’ (Zaheer, 1995: 343) such as the cost of coordination across countries. As compared to larger firms’ internationalization strategy, IPO firms’ internationalization can be particularly risky because the lack of public history of these firms can threaten their legitimacy in foreign markets and substantially increase their liability of foreignness (Yu et al., 2011). Given the riskiness of a firm’s internationalization strategy, it is necessary to understand why certain IPO firms pursue an internationalization strategy whereas others do not.

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