Learning may be the single greatest challenge when entering offshore markets. Few, if any, employees have in-depth knowledge of markets other than the one where they live. Faced with the need to learn quickly about a foreign market, many companies employ a variety of approaches, in a variety of sequences.
How does the sequence in which a company applies learning approaches affect performance? To assess this question, we observed nine companies in the high technology industry. To minimize geographic and cultural bias, we selected companies with headquarters in three culturally distinct markets: Finland, the U.S. and Singapore.
Our studies show that most organizational learning results from four direct and two indirect approaches to learning.