We demonstrate that firms can exploit their knowledge of ‘weak’ institutional settings and turn it into a source of advantage as they internationalize into locations with similar institutional ‘weaknesses.’ Using the case of one Africa’s most successful multinational enterprises we illustrate the value gained from initially capitalizing upon institutional complementarity (utilizing the comparative advantage linked to institutional know-how) by exploiting the experience of the home country’s environment into similar settings. Over time and through learning-by-doing, pressure arose to diversify the risk linked with over-exposure to institutional uncertainty and country risk, and this was associated with the process of institutional substitution into more advanced countries. We see an emerging multinational learning and building its capabilities by leveraging off its understanding of its home country institutional environment.
The impact of home and host country institutions in the internationalization of an African multinational enterprise
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