Regional diversification and performance: Conceptualization and competing strategic objectives

Keith James Kelley, Florida International University


This dissertation comprised of three essays provides justification for the need to pursue research on multinationality and performance with a more fine-grained approach. Essay one is a conceptual response to an article written by Jean-Francois Hennart in 2011 which questions the need and approach toward future research in this domain. I argue that internalization theory does not render multinationality and performance research meaningless and identify key areas where methodological enhancements can be made to strengthen our research findings with regard to Hennart's call for more content validity. Essay two responds to the need for more-fine grained research on the consequences of multinationality by introducing non-traditional measures of performance such as social and environmental performance and adopting a more theoretically relevant construct of regionalization to capture international diversification levels of the firm. Using data from the world's largest 600 firms (based on sales) derived from Bloomberg and the Directory of Corporate Affiliates; I employ general estimating equation analysis to account for the auto-correlated nature of the panel data alongside multivariate regression techniques. Results indicate that regionalization has a positive relationship with economic performance while it has a negative relationship with environmental and social performance outcomes, often referred to as the "Triple Bottom-Line" performance. Essay three builds upon the work in the previous essays by linking the aforementioned performance variables and sample to corporate reputation which has been shown to be a beneficial strategic asset. Using Structural Equation Modeling I explore economic, environmental and social signals as mediators on relationship between regionalization and firm reputation. Results indicate that these variables partially mediate a positive relationship between regionalization and firm reputation. While regionalization positively affects the reputation building signal of economic performance, it aids in reputation building by reducing environmental and social disclosure effects which interestingly impact reputation negatively. In conclusion, the dissertation submits opportunities for future research and contributes to research by demonstrating that regionalization affects performance, but the effect varies in accordance with the performance criterion and context. In some cases, regional diversification may produce competing or conflicting outcomes among the potential strategic objectives of the firm.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Kelley, Keith James, "Regional diversification and performance: Conceptualization and competing strategic objectives" (2013). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3598087.