De Backer, Koen; Sleuwaegen, Leo (Vlerick Business School, 2002)
In analyzing firm entry and exit across Belgian manufacturing industries, this paper presents evidence that import competition and foreign direct investment discourage entry and stimulate exit of domestic entrepreneurs. These results are in line with theoretical occupational choice models, where it is shown that crowding out of domestic entrepreneurs through foreign direct investment works through selection in product and labor markets. However, the empirical results also suggest important long term structural positive effects of FDI on domestic entrpreneurship as a result of learning, demonstration, networking and linkage effects between foreign and domestic firms which tend to moderate or even reverse crowding out effects on domestic entrepreneurship.
De Backer, Koen; Sleuwaegen, Leo (Vlerick Business School, 2002)
In analyzing the distinctive contribution of foreign subsidiaries and domestic firms to productivity growth in aggregate Belgian manufacturing, this paper shows that foreign ownership is an important source of firm heterogeneity affecting productivity dynamics. Foreign firms have contributed disproportionately large to aggregate productivity growth, but more importantly reallocation processes differ significantly between the groups of foreign subsidiaries and domestic firms.
Pennings, Enrico; Sleuwaegen, Leo (Vlerick Business School, 2002)
Poorly performing firms need to improve their profitability through restructuring their operations. In many cases this means downsizing by means of collective layoff of employees. Based on a unique sample of Belgian firms reporting collective layoffs this paper analyzes whether a firm dismisses all employees (exit), a significant proportion of its employees (downscaling), or closes down part of its activities and moves production abroad (international relocation). It is argued and demonstrated that the choice of downsizing approach differs depending on the strategic options and characteristics of the firm. We find that firms that downscale are more sensitive to profit changes. Relocating firms are labor intensive and move production to lower wage countries to operate more capital-intensive in Belgium in line with the comparative advantage of the country. Exiting firms are typically small and young underscoring the theory on evolutionary learning.
Belderbos, Rene; Sleuwaegen, Leo (Vlerick Business School, 2003)
We analyze the determinants of the decision to invest abroad and the choice of spatial configurations of overseas plants for 120 Japanese firms active in 36 well-defined electronic product markets. We find support for a structured internationalization decision model in which the decision to internationalize is taken at the product level after scanning for all possible profitable foreign plant configurations based on the locational advantages of different regions. In addition, strategic drivers related to the competitive position of the firm's in the product market and its technology base have a critical impact on the choice between alternative international plant configurations. Regional configurations focused on Asia are chosen by firms with weaker competitiveness for products with established manufacturing technologies. Plant configurations focused on the US and the EU are pulled by restrictive trade policies and are chosen by technology intensive firms facing competitive threats in foreign markets. Global configurations are chosen by firms with a strong competitive position in the Japanese and world market for their core product businesses and are more common in case of strong oligopolistic rivalry between Japanese firms. Keywords: Foreign Direct Investment, Plant Location, Multinational Firms
Sleuwaegen, Leo; Schep, K.; Hartog, G.; Commandeur, Harry (Vlerick Business School, 2003)
This paper examines the effect on the market valuation of large Dutch firms following the announcement of forming international strategic alliances (ISAs). These stock market effects are distinguished by type of alliance and country of origin of the partnering firms during the period 1985-1992. While ISAs are generally found to have a positive effect on firms' market value, strategically and culturally distant foreign partners generate a strong negative effect on a firm's market value. The results underscore the importance of conducting a strategic, operational and cultural audit of the partnering firms and the envisaged partnership. The audit needs to be taken as a starting point in developing the essential co-operation skills to make the alliance work and should become integrated within a comprehensive performance scorecard.
Rondi, L.; Sleuwaegen, Leo; Vannoni, D. (Vlerick Business School, 2003)
The authors present an original attempt to trace the changing industrial and geographical diversification strategy of firms along the integration process. The analysis is based on a unique database covering the product and geographical scope of the leading European firms in the manufacturing sectors for three years characterising different moments in the integration process, 1987 (start), 1993 (half-way) and 1997 (near completion). Before analysing the data, the authors offer some theoretical perspectives about the consequences of the European market integration program for the international strategies and structures of European firms.
The globalization of industries over the past two decades has resulted in domestic markets facing increasing inroads by foreign competitors. Utilizing resource-based theory, this paper examines how increased foreign competition impacts a firm's diversification strategy. Building on the important role of a firm's core competences as the basis for sustainable competitive advantage, we postulate that increased foreign-based competition, as measured by the degree of import penetration in a firm's core business industry, will engender a defensive response by the firm to protect its core business. This defensive response will in turn lead the firm to focus on its core business at the expense of non-core business activities with a consequent reduction in the firm's level of diversification. In addition, we conjecture that this increased focus and reduction in diversification will be greater the more attractive is the firm's core business to the firm and the more attractive is the firm's core industry. Our empirical analysis is conducted using a unique panel data set of both diversified and undiversified U.S. firms over the period 1985-1994. The special nature of the data sample raises important methodological and statistical issues which are addressed here by the use of a nonlinear TOBIT procedure. Our results indicate strong support for the hypothesized negative relationship between firm diversification and foreign-based competition. Moreover, we find significant evidence that this negative relationship is moderated by the attractiveness of a firm's core business industry, the profitability of the firm's core business and overall firm performance. These findings lend support to the resource-based theory of the firm and they suggest that the observed trend in corporate refocusing over the last decade has, to a significant extent, been driven by increased foreign-based competition.
Sleuwaegen, Leo; De Voldere, Isabelle (Vlerick Business School, 2001)
This paper starts from the antitrust practices in the European Community and the US with respect to the delineation of the relevant geographic market in dealing with concentrations and shows that regulations and guidelines at this moment focus almost exclusively on demand substitution. However, the process of globalisation involves essentially global supply conditions and competition. A methodology is presented for delineating the relevant geographic market, that better takes this globalisation trend into account and brings both demand and supply substitution better in balance. The practical use of the methodology is illustrated for the Volvo-Scania merger case that was blocked by the European Commission in 1999.
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