Selected Research Projects and Grants

Culture, Institutions, and Governance: The Drivers of International Alliance Performance

Aug. 2020 - Jul. 2022

This research proposal aims at exploring how an international strategic alliance performance is influenced by the interactions between cultural and institutional differences and governance structures through a multi-level study. Firstly in the macro-level study, we intend to empirically investigate how cultural and institutional differences, as a result of macro-contextual variations across countries, affect international strategic alliance performance in different governance structures, namely equity joint ventures and contractual ventures.
Our findings will contribute to the international business literature by the synthesis of the institution-based view and the foreign entry mode choices in two folds: 1) we expect an international strategic alliance performance to be enhanced if there is small institutional distance to reduce the liability of foreignness, whilst large cultural distance as a driver and a bond for complementary resource seeking between partner firms; 2) we expect such varied effects of cultural and institutional variations on the international strategic alliance performance to be more evident in equity joint ventures over contractual ventures. In the meso-level study, furthermore, this research proposal will focus on the role of cultural distance and re-conceptualize it as cultural friction in explaining the various intra and inter-organizational interactions and the collaborative performance. In the intra-organizational level, we would like to examine how the performance of immigrant enterprises – local enterprises established by foreigners – is affected by the frictions between the founders' original cultural backgrounds and the host countries' cultures. In the inter-organizational level, we endeavor to uncover the individual effects of cultural indicators from different sources of data – World Value Survey and the GLOBE study – on both equity joint venture and contractual venture performance, and identity which cultural indicators pose stronger effects than the others in explaining the successful alliance performance. These findings, both resulted from intra- and inter-organizational level analyses, will propose the need for developing/ nurturing the third culture in a two-party collaboration, in which cultural frictions inevitably influence the collaborative outcomes. Finally, in the micro-level study, this research proposal places emphasis on bridging the gap between institutional distance and the firm's competitive strategy while interacting with foreign partner in an international strategic alliance. Specifically, we will investigate what competitive advantages a firm require in response to different sets of cultural and institutional facets in a cross-border collaboration. The findings endeavor to contribute to the internationalization theory of experiential learning and the institution-based view, as we expect an alliance performance is determined by if a firm has successful experiences both in domestic partnerships and in wholly-owned subsidiaries abroad.

An analysis of international competitive strategies and export performance: the role of organizational learning

Aug. 2019 - Jul. 2021

This study aims at examining the effects of international competitive strategies, i.e., cost leadership and differentiation, on export (market share and strategic) performances, respectively. It will further explores the roles of exploitative and explorative learning in the relationships between international competitive strategies and export performances. Based on the data from New Zealand exporting firms operating in key industries, this study intends to empirically demonstrate whether the international cost leadership strategy has a positive, significant effect on the market share export performance and whether this positive effect becomes even stronger when cost leadership interacts with exploitative learning. It will also explore if the international differentiation strategy bears no relation to the strategic export performance, even allowing for explorative learning. Finally, this study will discuss the theoretical and practical implications for the alignment between competitive strategies and organizational learning for the benefit of export performance.

Open Innovation, Institutional Idiosyncrasies and Firm Innovativeness in Emerging Countries, Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) Taiwan

Aug. 2018 - Jul. 2019 (TWD564,000)

Emerging countries have long been recognized as inhospitable environments for innovation, owing to their institutional voids and weak intellectual property protection, yet for not well understood reasons many emerging market enterprises (EMEs) have begun to develop highly innovative products and become the game changers in the global marketplace. Most studies on developed market firms place emphasis on the role of R&D, internal R&D by itself unfortunately is not sufficient to enhance the innovativeness of EMEs because most of their R&D departments remain in their infancy. Capturing such important recent phenomenon, this research project endeavors to explore what innovation strategies EMEs pursue in order to take advantages of institutional idiosyncrasies in their environments, overcome limitations in their R&D capabilities and succeed in innovation.

Knowledge Acquisition in International Strategic Alliances: The Role of Knowledge Ambiguity, MOST Taiwan

Aug. 2017 - Jul. 2018 (TWD533,000)

Although prior research has emphasized the importance of international strategic alliances, we have incomplete understanding of how and why some firms succeed in acquiring knowledge from foreign partners, but others fail. We advance understanding of this important issue by examining 1) how knowledge acquisition in international alliances is influenced by knowledge ambiguity (the difficulty of understanding the causal effects of partners’ knowledge) and 2) what contingencies either strengthen or help firms overcome its negative effects. Drawing on organizational learning theory, our analysis shows (and explains why) knowledge ambiguity not only has a direct negative effect on knowledge acquisition but also impedes the positive role of a firm’s absorptive capacity. Such negative effects are more pronounced when there is high institutional distance between partners, but interestingly some firms can partly overcome the negative effects of knowledge ambiguity by carefully developing strong relationships with their partners.

A Knowledge-based View of Cultural Distance in International Business Exchanges, MOST Taiwan

Aug. 2016 - Jul. 2017 (TWD456,000)

International knowledge acquisition is a context-dependent process. The diversity of the context arising from cultural distance between partner firms can be a source of knowledge transfer due to the potential learning opportunities based on the strategic complementarities. It is however no guarantee that the learning potential can be realized owing to the difficulties and misunderstandings in the process of international knowledge acquisition. This study endeavors to adopt a knowledge-based view of cultural distance and examines how it influences the firm’s access to the transferred knowledge and its acquisition of the knowledge in an international business exchange context. The findings would suggest that a trustworthy partnership can facilitate international knowledge acquisition mainly because it weakens the firm’s casual ambiguous perception towards the transferred knowledge and further enhances the firm’s learning outcome in a large culture-distant business exchange relationship.

The Co-evolution of International Strategic Alliances: An Integrative Framework, MOST Taiwan

Aug. 2015 - Jul. 2016 (TWD493,000)

Research on international strategic alliances is not a new challenge. The blossoming research on international strategic alliances, mainly derived from the resource-based view, reflects the importance of international collaborations in business practices, whereas the existing literature on international strategic alliances has been equivocal, without an overarching framework as a synthesis of the phenomena. This research project thus aims at developing a co-evolutionary perspective on international strategic alliances by associating contextual factors with processual antecedents of alliance performance. It argues that not only the internal interactions of an international strategic alliance, such as cross-border knowledge transfer and learning processes and inter-partner relationships, but also its external environments, particularly the cultural and institutional heterogeneities between the countries from where the partners originate, significantly affect the alliance performance.

Bridging the Cross-trait Relationships in Telecommunication, LED and E-commerce Industries: Evaluations and Policies, Industrial Development Bureau, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan

Apr. 2014 - Nov. 2014 (TWD1,000,000)

本研究針對通訊、電子商務、LED等三項產業,透過領導廠商之深度訪談及廣泛問卷調查,探討廠商參加搭橋是否有效益及具體效益所在:質性研究發現,透過15家企業深度訪談歸納出搭橋效益模式,並具體說明每件個案的主要效益點;參加搭橋之主要直接效益表現在:兩岸廠商的平台機制、關鍵媒合及提供情資,並進而促成台灣母公司營業額成長、切入大陸及全球市場等間接效益。量化研究發現,各廠商參加搭橋之後,在市場與通路經營、生產與品質改善、投資與貿易成長等各指標上,均促成台灣母公司營業額成長,特別是通訊及電子商務廠商參加搭橋後,營業額成長十分顯著。整體而言,藉由質性與量化初步驗證搭橋計畫在三項產業上,應達成其促進兩岸合作、開發全球市場之政策目標。

Respect and Relationship Commitment in International Buyer–supplier Exchanges, MOST Taiwan

Aug. 2014 - Jul. 2015 (TWD410,000)

Buyer-supplier relationship exchange has been a key subject in the literatures of strategy and international business. However, it is still unclear why and how buyers and suppliers in an international context (export - importer) develop a strong commitment to collaborative work relationships. In two studies among high-tech companies in two different countries, we focus on respect as a key relational driver for behavioral trust and relationship commitment. In Study 1, we plan to collect data from 157 importing companies in Israel and to examine how respect is directly and indirectly, through trust, related to relationship commitment, after we control for both contextual and environmental factors. In Study 2, we intend to collect data from 250 importing companies in Taiwan and endeavor to find the similar pattern: respect is directly and indirectly, through trust, related to relationship commitment, after we control for both experience and cooperative (equity) structure. Together, these studies will provide insights into how respect in relationships between buyers and suppliers can help overcome cultural and geographical barriers and help develop trust and commitment to a collaborative work relationship.

The Role of Country-of-origin and Inter-partner Interactions in Explaining Knowledge Acquisition through International Strategic Alliances, MOST Taiwan

Nov. 2013 - Oct. 2014 (TWD294,000)

This research aims to examine how country-of-origin effects and inter-partner interactions influence knowledge acquisition in international strategic alliances. Its contribution expects to rest in developing one construct, knowledge protectiveness and causal ambiguity, and in explaining how it interacts with country- and firm-specific characteristics to affect the process of knowledge acquisition. We will then further show how and when inter-partner relationships mitigate the challenges arising from variations in institutional environments. This research endeavors to apply large-scale survey research with in-depth case studies on international strategic alliances in Taiwanese information and communication technology industries. Building on the resource dependence theory, it intends to find the empirical evidence that the complexity of cross-border knowledge acquisition is the result of the divergent institutional environments in the countries from where alliance partners originate. However, it will also extends the theory by indicating that such country-of-origin effects are not always negative and by demonstrating how some firms overcome these challenges by building harmonious inter-partner relationships.