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International Strategy: Context, Concepts and Implications by David Collis

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INTRODUCTION: MOTIVATION AND DEFINITION – WHAT IS INTERNATIONAL STRATEGY?

CHALLENGE

Not so long ago, three books arrived on my desk on the same day. Each is by a well-respected academic author, and each is replete with endorsements from successful executives. All are zealous, almost messianic, in their advocacy of a particular approach to international strategy. One proclaims that the only successful international strategy is to be “globally dominant” (Govindarajan and Gupta, 2001). Another argues instead that there is an absolute requirement to transform corporations “from global to metanational” (Doz et al., 2001). The third states in no uncertain terms that the other two are wrong, and that when dealing with “the end of globalization” the only viable strategy is “to profit from the realities of regional markets” (Rugman, 2005). What are reasonable managers supposed to think, let alone do, when faced with such vehemently argued, yet contradictory, advice?

The answer is simple. All three authors are correct. And all three authors are wrong. Each is promulgating a strategy that is sensible – that can lead to competitive advantage and international success under the appropriate circumstances. All are badly overstating their case by arguing that every company should pursue their particular recommendation. In the vernacular of the racetrack, the real answer is that there are “horses for courses.” There is no one right international strategy that is best for every firm under every ...

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