Globalising Internationals : Product Strategies of ICT Companies

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School of Business | Doctoral thesis (monograph) | Defence date: 2004-03-15
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Kansainvälinen liiketoiminta
International Business
Degree programme
361 s.
Acta Universitatis oeconomicae Helsingiensis. A, 229
The study analyses how product strategies change when ICT equipment manufacturing companies move from the international to the global stage and what factors are expected to explain this development. Product strategy evolution is described in three dimensions - product platforms, product lines, and individual products - and in terms of three product strategy alternatives developed on the basis of the standardisation degree. They are called the localised, modified, and standardised product strategies. A theoretical framework and working propositions were constructed by analysing the existing theoretical approaches. The framework developed consists of four explaining blocks: first the macro and industry environment, second the corporate level strategies, third the business level strategies, and finally the internal strategic levers, resources/capabilities and decision-making variables. In the empirical part, development of the product strategies of five Finnish ICT equipment manufacturers was analysed with the multiple case research method. It was found that the globalising internationals are developing towards more standardised product strategy alternatives, the product assortment is becoming wider and also more advanced product categories are increasingly used, not only goods, but also services, know-how and systems during globalisation. Moreover, global product platforms and horizontal co-operation are increasingly important for ICT companies. This research will contribute theoretically in a number of areas. The globalisation of international companies has been studied very little and a better understanding of this process is valuable. Also, a detailed analysis of the evolution of the product strategies of globalising internationals in the ICT equipment manufacturing field during globalisation is an important contribution. The research contributes further by developing a theoretical framework and by putting forward a number of propositions explaining this evolution. These are expected to be useful for future research in this area. The managerial contributions stem from the understanding of the available product strategy alternatives and their expected development during the often critical transformation period from international towards global companies. Finally, the study suggests that the generalizability of the framework and propositions developed herein could be tested in a large international survey in ICT or some other similar field. Moreover, it would be interesting to compare the results of the product strategies of globalising internationals found in this study with research on born globals. In future in addition to products, also channels, brands, pricing and the operation strategies of globalising internationals could be studied. Moreover, a deeper understanding of co-operation with different value network members could bring interesting findings. It would also be interesting to extend the study from the strategic business unit level to the corporate level
Supervising professor
Luostarinen, Reijo, professor
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