Foreignness research in international business: Major streams and future directions
Published on Sep 15, 2021in Journal of International Business Studies11.382
· DOI :10.1057/S41267-021-00465-8
Foreignness has long been a central construct in international business research, with research streams examining its conceptualizations, manifestations, and consequences. Researchers started by taking foreignness to be a liability, then later considered the possibility of its being an asset. A still more recent view is that foreignness is an organizational identity that a firm can purposefully manage. Broadly conceived, foreignness is an umbrella construct that directly or tangentially covers research on country of origin, institutional distance, firm-specific advantages, and the ownership–location–internalization eclectic paradigm. We review the body of research on foreignness and track the evolution of its four streams, liability of foreignness, asset of foreignness, drivers of foreignness, and firm responses to foreignness. We call for a clearer conceptualization and a sounder theoretical grounding of the foreignness construct, more integration of the liability of foreignness and the asset of foreignness research streams, greater attention to the multiple strategies firms use to manage foreignness, and the extension of the field to less-explored contexts such as emerging economies, digitalization, and de-globalization.