Country institutional environments and international strategy: A review and analysis of the research

Kai Xu, Michael A. Hitt, David Brock, Vincenzo Pisano, Lulu S.R. Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


We review and analyze the growing body of literature that addresses the institutional context of international strategy. By examining articles in eleven major journals from January 2008 to July 2020, we identify six major categories of international strategies and implementation approaches: market entry and internationalization, political strategies, multinational technology and innovation, multinational corporate social responsibility, multinational headquarters and subsidiary relationships, and international human resources management. A parallel analysis of the relevant institutional variables categorizes institutions into eight types: economic institutions, political institutions, regulatory institutions, normative institutions, administrative institutions, cultural/cognitive institutions, demographic institutions, and knowledge institutions. These eight categories allow us to contextualize the institutional environment in which the six international strategies and implementation approaches are employed. Our review identifies important progress in international strategy research that has yielded a greater understanding of institutional impact on multinational activities. Yet, it also reveals that many areas of international strategy research remain fragmented, highlighting the need for future research and suggesting new directions for such investigations. Our analysis concludes by identifying knowledge gaps in each of the six strategy categories and making a series of suggestions for relevant future research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100811
JournalJournal of International Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.


  • Institutional distance
  • Institutions
  • International strategy
  • Research review and analysis


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