Internationalization strategy: how to go from local to global

Internationalization is a complex process with many scientific articles dedicated to that. Comprehensively presenting it in a format of a short blog post is a task that requires major simplifications. Nevertheless, here is what it takes from a company to consider this major step in terms of market, operation modes and product – internationalization strategy canvas.

Understanding the big picture is critical for strategic decision-makers. Implementation of a decision too early or too late can turn very costly. Especially in the context of internationalization, a right decision in a right time makes an ordinary company extraordinary. The challenge is though how to understand the timing and correctly interpret the operational context of a firm, when external environment is always in a change?

International trade is an “infinite game” (see Carse 1986). Good news is that rules are the same for all players; the pace of the game is different, but stages are the same; the sequence of steps is different, but steps are the same. Each player sets own goals and selects a strategy. As it is common for the games, choices come with a price tag. Once the setup of the game is clear, the action is just a matter of imagination.

Figure 1. Internationalization process canvas

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Business Process Re-engineering and Organizational Change

Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) is the process of restructuring the organizational design from the ground-up. It stresses the importance of full-scale recreation of the processes instead of numerous and often continuous optimization of sub-processes. To avoid repetition, one may have a brief introduction in the idea of BPR from the Wikipedia.

Despite of usefulness of the BPR, there were some concerns. In his revision of the Socio-Technical System theory, Clegg (2000) has proposed the 8th principle – core processes should be integrated. The idea of the principle is that “organizations can be viewed as comprising a number of core processes that typically cut laterally across different functions. This contrasts with the more traditional view that organizations comprise sets of expertise-based specialisms that are organized vertically.” Here, Clegg also regretfully mentions the devaluation of application of the principle by the BPR approach in the context of the organizational system design.

This brings to a thought that there is more to what organizations can be than what BPR has to offer. Despite of being a useful tool, it should find its application with consideration of its limitations.

Clegg, C. W. (2000). Sociotechnical principles for system design. Applied Ergonomics, 31(5), 463–477.