Toward a learning-based view of internationalization: The accelerated trajectories of cross-border learning for latecomers

Peter Ping Li

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

124 Citations (Scopus)


Integrating the conventional models with the emerging models, we propose a learning-based view of internationalization for multinational enterprise (MNE), especially for MNE latecomers as the new species of MNE from the emerging economies. Built upon the duality lens and transaction value perspective, this learning-based view frames the pattern of cross-border learning in terms of both learning motive and learning capability as a learning trajectory, with distinctive entry strategies as the primary applications of such learning trajectories. The learning trajectories on the dimensions of exploitative and exploratory learning as well as unilateral and bilateral leaning jointly constitute an overall framework of MNE evolution with cross-border learning as its central theme, especially in the process of an accelerated internationalization. In particular, we frame cross-border alliance as a special form for bilateral learning in terms of co-exploitation and co-exploration, which motivates and enables the accelerated internationalization of MNE latecomers. Finally, we identify four major learning-based issues as new "big questions" to reflect the emerging paradigm shift from hierarchy-based unilateral exploitation to network-based bilateral exploration with the theme that hierarchy is best for exploiting the extant core competence, while strategic alliance is best for exploring a novel core competence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-59
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of International Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Accelerated trajectory
  • Duality lens
  • Entry strategy
  • Exploration-exploitation
  • Transaction value
  • Unilateral-bilateral learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Finance
  • Strategy and Management


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