Country portfolio diversity and firms’ portfolio adjustment decisions: A behavioral perspective

Guus Hendriks*, Arjen H.L. Slangen, Pursey P.M.A.R. Heugens

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Taking a behavioral perspective, we explore how environmental diversity in a firm's country portfolio shapes managers’ decisions to adjust the portfolio through foreign entries and exits. We argue that country portfolio diversity causes firms to exponentially incur behavioral failures and coordination costs that serve as a distress signal to managers, who therefore increasingly restrict foreign entries and increasingly undertake foreign exits as a function of such diversity. Applying performance feedback theory, we also argue that managers’ tendency to interpret behavioral failures and coordination costs from portfolio diversity as a distress signal – and, hence, their tendency to restrict entries and undertake exits as a function of such diversity – depends on whether their firm performs below or above their aspirations. Using measures of cultural, administrative, geographic and economic portfolio diversity, we find support for our ideas in a panel data analysis of all foreign entries and exits by 232 retailers from 24 countries over the period 2001–2007. Our findings illustrate the value of applying a behavioral lens to explain changes in a firm's full set of international activities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102280
JournalInternational Business Review
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Mar 2024

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© 2024 The Authors

Research programs

  • RSM S&E

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