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International Business

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.