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International Strategy: Context, Concepts and Implications by David Collis

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Chapter 6 Choice of Generic International Strategy

We stated that there is rarely “one right” strategy to pursue in international competition. There are many industries where firms are able to succeed while pursuing different international strategies. Major appliances, confectionery, and fast food restaurants are examples where one firm has succeeded with a global strategy (Whirlpool, Mars, and McDonald's, respectively); another with a multidomestic or regional strategy (Electrolux, Cadbury, and KFC); while others have flourished with a local strategy (GE, Hershey, and Taco Bell). Even in the beer industry, Anheuser-Busch InBev has a global strategy, SABMiller is multidomestic, and local brewers, like Samuel Adams, also prosper.

Indeed, our little Catalan furniture manufacturer probably had a free choice between the export strategy by accepting the Uzbek order and a more regional strategy by seeking to become an IKEA supplier. Either choice, if implemented effectively by aligning the four strategic decisions appropriately, would probably have succeeded for an extended period.

We do, however, need to provide a way for companies to choose among the generic international strategies. Although it is rare that economic determinism compels the adoption of a specific international strategy, there certainly are some industries, like semiconductors or aircraft, where the underlying economic structure can only support one strategy. Conversely, not every strategy will work in every industry. ...

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