Knowledge about foreign markets is crucial at the internationalisation of a company

Strategies for combining knowledge from different sources, internal and external, in the internationalisation work of companies, affects how much they learn about foreign markets. This learning, in its turn, has an impact on companies’ abilities to make the most of the new growth potential offered by these markets.

This reasoning is part of the results presented in Niklas Åkerman's doctoral thesis "Learning for international growth – on knowledge acquisition and opportunity realization". His research was carried out within the Center for International Business Studies on emerging Markets (CIBEM) at Linnaeus University.

Internationalisation is a key activity in many companies and the role of knowledge in this process is absolutely central. Therefore, the results can be said to contribute with one piece to the puzzle in figuring out the link between learning and international growth. The research at hand tackles the question; how companies acquire new knowledge to make the most of the growth potential offered by foreign markets. The research has been presented in three different articles, each dealing with different aspects of this.

The first article focuses on defining different ways in which a company can combine knowledge from various sources into new knowledge. This results in a typology on four strategies for learning, based on the utilisation to a varying extent of internal and external sources respectively.

The other article aims to validate these results and to study to what extent the results from the first substudy can be applied to other companies in their internationalisation process. This approach supports the developed typology while at the same time developing this further by taking into consideration different types of knowledge. Furthermore, the study demonstrates that the strategy for a company's learning on a new market has a considerable impact on the level of knowledge about local market.

The third article deals with the significance of knowledge when trying to explain differences between how companies make use of new growth potential on foreign markets. The results point toward that knowledge about local business networks and the width of internationalisation knowledge affect the ability to realise new possibilities on the market.

The defense of the doctoral thesis will take place on Friday, June 10 at 1 pm, in room Ny200 in Kalmar.