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Internationalisation motives and the multinationality-performance relationship: The case of Polish firms



Objective: The objective of the article is to investigate the moderating role of internationalisation motives on the multinationality-performance relationship of Polish firms.

Research Design & Methods: Our article uses panel regression models on a dataset of 97 Polish listed “new” MNEs with foreign activities established in the period of 2006-2013, gathered in a primary study.

Findings: We found that Polish firms show an inverted U-curve relationship between multinationality and performance, which is contrary to the predictions resulting from the traditional S-curve analysis. Moreover, we found that political-institutional motives positively moderate the multinationality-performance curve for sales growth, while efficiency-seeking motives have a similar effect on return on assets and return on sales. Finally, competitiveness-related motivations behind internationalisation moderate the inverted U-shaped curve for return on equity, although they are different than expected.

Implications & Recommendations: The article addresses the gap of limited consideration for the stage of internationalisation of the firms under study by focusing on newly internationalised firms from a post-transition economy. Secondly, as one of the very few studies, our work follows some recent calls to unbundle the substance of internationalisation by considering the moderating role of internationalisation motives.

Contribution & Value Added: This study helps to advance international business literature by testing longitudinally the MP relationship for Polish firms between 2006 and 2013.


multinationality, performance, internationalisation motives, Polish firms, international diversification, early-stage multinationals, internationalisation, international business

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Author Biography

Krystian Barłożewski

Assistant Professor at the Warsaw School of Economics, Department of International Management at the Collegium of World Economy. His research interests include internationalization performance and impact of digital transformation on internationalization models and processes. Correspondence to: dr Krystian Barłożewski, Department of International Management, Collegium of World Economy, Warsaw School of Economics, Madalińskiego 6/8, 02-513 Warszawa, Poland,

Piotr Trąpczyński

Associate Professor at the Poznań University of Economics and Business, Department of International Competitiveness at the Institute of International Business and Economics. His research interests include foreign direct investments and divestments, export performance and export exits, as well as business models. Correspondence to: dr hab. Piotr Trąpczyński, prof. UEP, Department of International Competitiveness, Poznań University of Economics and Business, al. Niepodległości 1, 61-875 Poznań, Poland,


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