Zefu wu1; Jie Wu2
Conference Name2014 Global Marketing Conference at Singapore
Source Publication2014 Global Marketing Conference at Singapore Proceedings
Conference DateJuly 9-12, 2014
Conference PlaceSingapore

This study examined the impact on a firm’s product innovation success when it expands internationally into a host country with political, economic and cultural institutions different from those it is accustomed to at home. Data on 917 Chinese manufacturing firms’ international activities were analyzed to demonstrate that expansion to countries with political institutions better developed than those of a firm’s home country promotes innovation success, as does expansion to countries characterized by greater individualism than the home country. A more advanced economy in the host country strengthens these relationships. This study was designed to contribute to the extant literature in three areas. First, it was designed to enrich the theory explaining how the institutional environment affects firm performance in an emerging economy. Most previous studies have examined the relationship between the institutional environment and the probability of organizational survival or financial performance (e.g., Xu & Shenkar, 2002; Gaur & Lu, 2007), but this study instead examined the institutional environment and product innovation. Product innovation is, after all, a primary way in which many firms compete and grow (Eisenhardt & Tabrizi, 1995; Wu, 2012). Second, previous research has not clearly identified how different components of the institutional environment individually relate to product innovation success, nor have previous studies sufficiently explored their interactions. This study was designed to fill that gap by integrating the literature on new institutional economics, product innovation and the international expansion of emerging market firms. It sought to derive and test propositions explaining how political institutions and cultural norms relate to product innovation success, and to what extent the relationships depend on economic development. Then, this study extended previous research on the institutional environment to an emerging market context. Evidence clarifying the relationships between different components of the institutional environment and the innovation performance of emerging market firms would be relevant for designing effective and efficient international expansion strategies for emerging market firms.  These findings therefore enrich our understanding of the impact of the institutional environment by showing its multifaceted influence on product innovation. Previous research has highlighted the important role of institutional differences between the home and foreign countries in strategic decision making and performance (e.g., Kostova & Zaheer, 1999; Xu & Shenkar, 2002). This study has extended that by clearly demonstrating the importance of differences in political institutions and individualism with respect to innovation performance. This is consistent with the idea that expanding to foreign countries with better-developed political institutions helps a firm avoid the institutional void and political hazards at home and gain access to better-functioning institutions in the host country, which can promote successful product innovation. Individualism in a host country drives a firm to experiment with new technologies and develop new products to satisfy diverse customer needs.

KeywordInstitutional Environment Political Institutions Economic Development Cultural Systems Individualism Product Innovation Emerging Markets China
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Document TypeConference paper
CollectionUniversity of Macau
Affiliation1.Huaqiao University, China
2.University of Macau, Macau
Recommended Citation
GB/T 7714
APA Zefu wu,&Jie Wu.(2014).THE INSTITUTIONAL ASYMMETRIES AND PRODUCT INNOVATION OF EMERGING MARKET FIRMS.2014 Global Marketing Conference at Singapore Proceedings,110-111.
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