Opportunity Identification and Exploitation for Technology Commercialization across Borders
MNEs’ technology commercialization across borders is a challenging task, because it involves high uncertainty in relation to both new technologies and foreign markets. Even if they develop a potential technology, they cannot easily identify where the technology could be a source of competitive advantage in the world. Scholars of technological innovation and also scholars of international business discuss that MNEs need to organize opportunity identification and exploitation for new business development under uncertainty. To contribute to the discussion, this thesis aims to analyze a dynamic process in which an MNE identifies and exploits new business opportunities in foreign markets with their own technologies. Specifically, it focuses on administrative aspects, analyzing organizational process as an organizational mechanism in an MNE. This thesis explores an empirical study through a single case of Valio Limited, a Finnish dairy product manufacturer. Data about technology commercialization in the case company was collected by semi-structured interviews and secondary data. After a description about an empirical context of the case, I described and analyzed organizational processes for technology commercialization with respect to opportunity identification and exploitation. In addition, I analyzed how the case company’s three technologies were commercialized on the basis of the organizational processes. Firstly, this thesis finds out that the case company’s technology commercialization is organized by an organizational process for domestic business, as well as by two kinds of organizational processes for international business: “deliberate approach” and “serendipitous approach”. While the case company deliberately identifies new business opportunities in the strategic foreign countries, it also identifies the opportunities by serendipity in foreign countries that are not strategically important. Secondly, this thesis finds out that three technologies of the case company were commercialized in an idiosyncratic internationalization path, even though their commercialization was based on the same organizational processes. It would be because an actual process of opportunity identification and exploitation in MNEs would be influenced by managerial decision making about each opportunity under uncertainty, with various factors as well as managerial cognition. Thirdly, this thesis finds out that the decision making is influenced by managers’ evolutionary learning of opportunity, from the MNE’s existing commercialization of the technology in home/foreign countries. Furthermore, it is also influenced by co-evolutionary learning of the opportunity with external players. Finally and most essentially, on the basis of these findings, this thesis is concluded with a proposition of a framework about MNEs’ internationalization with the utilization of strategic resources. In this framework, MNEs’ internationalization is analyzed as a dynamic process of opportunity identification and exploitation under uncertainty.
Advisor: Rose, Elizabeth; Kirkwood, Jodyanne
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Department of Management
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: internationalization; technological innovation; dairy industry; process study; multinational enterprises; case study
Research Type: Thesis