Learning by internationalisation : the case of Syrian firms

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2016
Thesis identifier
  • T14395
Person Identifier (Local)
  • 200854804
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • Expansion into foreign markets provides firms with opportunities to acquire a range of new knowledge. Prior research has extensively examined the foreign-market knowledge gains of cross-border expansion. However, less attention has been paid to the technological learning benefits of internationalisation, especially in the context of firms operating within low-technology industries. Marketing learning - particularly important for firms from transition economies - has also been subjected to limited empirical examination. This thesis builds on the internationalisation and organisational learning literatures to address these knowledge gaps. A conceptual framework is developed and investigated using a mixed methods approach involving the collection of data through questionnaire and interview methods from exporting firms in the Syrian transitioning economy.The questionnaire data are analysed using partial least square structural equation modelling while template analysis is used to analyse the interview data. In line with the concurrent triangulation design adopted in this thesis, findings from the two methods are compared to strengthen their validity. The findings demonstrate that internationalisation contributes to the advancement of technological and marketing capabilities of Syrian firms. However, the various dimensions of internationalisation exert different influences on subsequent learning. Moreover, technological knowledge gains and foreign expansion are positively associated with international performance whereas marketing learning did not exhibit a clear association with overseas performance. Furthermore, evidence suggests that developing a diverse set of informal network relationships contributes to post-internationalisation technological and marketing learning. Management’s prior foreign experience also positively impacts on technological learning while mixed evidence is obtained regarding the knowledge effects of a firm’s age at first foreign entry.The thesis contributes to scholarly knowledge by extending our understanding of the role of internationalisation in advancing organisational knowledge bases and enriching the literature with perspectives from internationalising firms in the Syrian transitioning economy.
Advisor / supervisor
  • Ibeh, Kevin
  • Alexander, Matthew
Resource Type