The born-global way: A distinctive approach to the distribution adaptation decision in the New Zealand English language market
There is a widely held view in the international marketing literature that how an international business approaches the strategy standardisation-adaptation decision is linked to its success,and thus is an important international marketing issue. Proponents of this argument maintain that an international business’ characteristics and the nature of the strategic element can influence the way a firm approaches this decision. Over the past twenty years, an international business with some distinctive characteristics has emerged, conceptualised as the born-global enterprise. International marketing research has yet to address how the born-global enterprise approaches the strategy standardisation-adaptation decision, particularly in terms of the distribution element. This is a gap in our knowledge. Commentary in the existing literature indicated that there may be an adaptation dimension found with respect to the way that born-global enterprises manage individual network relationships, and that this dimension may have distinctive features. To broaden the literature’s contextual scope concerning the strategy standardisation-adaptation decision, this dissertation investigated the way that international businesses with born-global characteristics approach the distribution adaptation decision. The intention was to explorewhether there were any behavioural features distinctive to the born-global enterprise approach. A qualitative, multi-site case study was employed in the novel service context of New Zealand’s English language teaching market. Interviews were held with eight participants representing traditional internationalising enterprises, and with thirteen participants representing born-global enterprises. The study found for the first time evidence suggesting that the born-global enterprise type of international business has a distinctive approach to distribution adaptation. This approach seems to involve using adaptation as a relationship management tool to mitigate the financially risky behaviours of the network partner (i.e., business neglect, demand inflation and customer miscommunication), and to a lesser extent the financially risky behaviours of the customer (i.e., underpurchase). Based on these results, an original theory is put forward proposing an explanation for this distinctly born-global enterprise behaviour, including several propositions for future testing. The theoretical contribution this work makes is significant because it enables the literature to better explain how different types of international businesses approach the important strategy standardisation-adaptation decision as regards distribution.
Advisor: Hamlin , Robert; Thyne, Maree
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Marketing
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: born global; marketing strategy; distribution; adaptation
Research Type: Thesis