The Role and Effect of International Business Strategies

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The survival and progression of businesses in the 21st century is highly dependent on the ability of firms to expand beyond their national borders, taking into account the cost effectiveness of expansion and the complexity and risks associated with the company’s chosen international business strategy (Peng, Wang, & Jiang, 2008). The resources and objectives of a firm, as well as the demand for their product outside their national borders are important in taking the decision to globalise a company’s products and/or services (Miller, 1992). Although three strategies are more common in the management literature, namely multi domestic, global and transnational approaches, the fourth strategy available to firms, according to Barlett and Ghoshal (1989) is the international approach to global expansion. This essay will analyse the two approaches that differ in local responsiveness and cost pressure for the business, with the international approach as the least responsive and expensive for the company and the transnational approach as the most costly and locally focused from the four options available to companies. To start with, local responsiveness of multinational corporations is often a matter of mutual expectations of the company expanding into a region and the local customers’ demands and needs (Gomez-Mejia & Palich, 1997). For instance, food and beverage companies from the Western world (i.e. the US or the UK) expanding into Asian countries need to integrate certain products in their range that suit the demands of local consumers (Watson, 2006). As such, the role of the transnational approach is to enable companies from a culturally distinct country to penetrate a new market successfully (London & Hart, 2004). There are both positive and negative effects of the transnational approach. Developing a business model and manufacturing strategies is a costly process for any company and changing this for the purpose of integrating new products specific to a region is an additional financial pressure for multinational companies (Zaheer, 1995). Although the negative impact of local adaptation may deter some firms from adopting this strategy, the success of companies like McDonalds which take this approach proves that the additional costs can increase the chances of global success and the return on investment (ROI) for the company (Luo, 2001). The core advantage of the transnational approach is the potential of multinational firms to compete with local counterparts in a more effective manner through offering local products alongside their already established reputation (Dawar & Frost, 1999). High levels of local responsiveness also ensures that the reputation in the new region contributes to the ethical image and the overall CSR of a multinational company (Husted & Allen, 2006). Large corporations are often accused of unethical conduct due to the cost competitiveness with the local providers, as international firms often perfect their manufacturing techniques in order to reduce all the time and resource waste, therefore allowing them to compete with local firms (Meyer, 2004). An increasing number of countries have launched campaigns which promote local companies over the international competitors claiming that regional businesses understand the needs and desires of their customer base more,

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