Internationalization and innovation: A surprising link in Russian innovative firms
Dr Irina Mihailova, Aalto University, Finland
20th Jan 2014 12:00 pm - Room 214/215, Economics and Business Building (H69)
There is an increasing amount of research that explores the link between innovation and internationalization. Yet, literature on Emerging Market Firms (EMFs) rarely addresses this topic. Exiting literature often argues that EMFs lack innovative capabilities and that they expand abroad to acquire advanced innovations. In this research I aim to enhance the existing knowledge of how innovations and internationalization are connected in EM firms and to look deeper into the innovation activities of EMFs. I view innovation as a process and integrate this approach to innovation with internationalization and institutional perspectives. I develop a framework that allows for explanation of the relationships between different stages of innovation process and internationalization in the context of Emerging Markets and extend recently emerged 3Is theoretical approach. The framework also shows how idiosyncratic institutional factors shape these relationship.
The empirical illustration of theoretical framework is based on the findings from an explorative multiple case study research from Russian innovation-intensive firms. The empirical evidence reveals insights on how and why Russia firms initiate international expansion to developed markets with the objective to implement a specific stage of innovation process that is commercialization of their own innovations. The study suggests that this motivation for internationalization arises from such factors as weak domestic innovation infrastructure and failure of institutions to provide conditions for commercialization of innovative products. Thus, this research contributes to existing literature by revealing novel innovation-related incentives for internationalization of EMFs and provides an important theoretical extension about the specific features of Emerging Market firms. Also, this study extends empirical knowledge of Russian technology-intensive firms that recently have been increasing their international presence in a rapid pace.
Irina Mihailova is a Postdoctoral researcher in Aalto School of Business, Helsinki, Finland. She is a Manager of Russian Relations and works on building cooperation with Russian academic and business partners. Irina's research interests include internationalization of firms from Emerging Markets with a special focus on Russia, knowledge management in Emerging Markets, National System of Innovation and management of international joint ventures. Her PhD thesis (defended in 2010) dealt with the performance implications of learning through Western-Russian joint ventures. Irina's work has been published in leading management and international business journals including the Academy of Management Review, Management International Review, Critical Perspectives of International Business and Journal of East-West Business. Irina specializes on teaching courses on internationalization of firms from Emerging Markets, Doing Business in Russia and International M&As and JVs. Irina acts as a mentor in Russian Business Incubator Ingria and advises on the international and knowledge management to Russian internalizing companies. Irina has received a number of awards and recognition for her doctoral dissertation and research. Most recently, she was a Visiting Scholar in Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, USA.