Working capital liability of foreignness: the apparel retail experience in Brazil

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2018-09-25
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Sheng, Hsia Hua
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Purpose: To provide propositions regarding how juxtaposing two well-known and established theories might impact the way firms venture when entering into new international markets. Design/Methodology/Approach: Building on exploratory and inductive research and on multiple cases and on work in related disciplines and on 18 field interviews with managers and C-level executives in diverse functions and organizations. Findings: Provide empirical support from interviews on the case studies to corroborate with the three propositions and compare amongst the observed practices what could be done differently to mitigate WCLOF (Working Capital Liability of Foreignness). The first proposition is presented regarding how the Liability of Foreignness (LOF) plays a role when international firms are managing their Working Capital (WC) of a subunit in a host market, using six qualitative case studies from three international players and three local competitors; the second proposition is related to if firms overcome LOF over time when, using the same three international players in qualitative case studies to observe how they have been evolving is the new host market regarding their WC improvement and; the third proposition is whether the international players might carry an advantage when establishing a subunit in a new host market, considering again the same three international players in qualitative case studies. Research Limitations: Further research is necessary into different markets other than Brazil and / or different industries other than the apparel / fashion retailing. Broader survey, with statistical generalization, might validate the propositions presented. Practical Implications: The propositions could serve as a managerial tool for identifying WCLOF, thus also for assisting to overcome it. Originality/value: given the novelty in bringing these two existing theories juxtaposed in academic literature, it demanded inductive research to assist uniqueness findings.


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