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Exploring the Role of Diversity Management During Early Internationalizing Firms’ Internationalization Process

Breuillot, Angélique ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0691-8627 (2021) Exploring the Role of Diversity Management During Early Internationalizing Firms’ Internationalization Process. Management International Review, 61. pp. 125-156. ISSN 0938-8249

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Abstract

Despite their rapid internationalization, early internationalizing firms (EIFs) struggle to sustain their growth over time. Among the factors influencing their internationalization process, the diversity of human resources, and particularly its management, has yet to be studied. Building on different perspectives of diversity management, through the lens of the resource-based view, this study explores the role of diversity management during EIFs’ internationalization process. The results of a multiple-case, qualitative study of French EIFs show that prevailing perspectives on diversity management within EIFs change with the nature of diversity as a resource (strategic, ordinary, or negative), with different influences on the firms’ progress along the phases of the internationalization process. The findings highlight the importance of adopting a learning perspective on managing diversity, including specific management practices, during the transition between the entry and post-entry phases of EIFs’ internationalization process. This study thus suggests several propositions and theoretical contributions, along with managerial recommendations.

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