A study of the internationalisation of Australian manufacturing firms

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Copyright: Barrett, Nigel
This thesis seeks to broaden our understanding of the nature, causes and consequences of firms' internationalisation. A comprehensive review and assessment of previous research is presented, including a discussion of various models of the internationalisation process. A simple analytical framework is presented for studying the dimensions of internationalisation and its possible causes and effects. A number of hypotheses are developed which focus on the relationships between various management and firm factors and both the behavioural and attitudinal dimensions of manufacturing firms' internationalisation. The influence of various contextual factors (i.e. firm size, foreign ownership, and firm age) on some of these relationships is then investigated. Next, the multidimensional nature of internationalisation is explored. A number of underlying dimensions of internationalisation are identified which form the basis for developing homogeneous groups of exporting and non-exporting firms. Lastly, profiles of these groups of firms are developed in terms of various management and firm characteristics. The empirical analysis uses data generated from a nationwide sample of Australian manufacturing firms. The hypotheses advanced are tested using five different measures of internationalisation. In general, the results of the bivariate analysis tend to support the posited hypotheses for all measures except export volume, for which inconsistent results emerge. Further analysis reveals the importance of firm size and foreign ownership as important contextual influences on the relationships between explanatory variables and firms' internationalisation. The exploratory analysis of the multidimensional nature of internationalisation suggests various underlying dimensions of internationalisation. It also results in potentially useful classifications of exporters and non-exporters which have reasonably distinctive profiles. These classifications of firms provide possible bases for targeting and designing export assistance schemes. Finally, the limitations of the research are considered and directions for future research outlined.
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Barrett, Nigel
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PhD Doctorate
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