The Underlying Sources of OI-IO’s Strategic Approaches and International Marketing: An Exploratory Qualitative Study: An Abstract

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The outside-in – inside-out conflict is alive in the business world. Both the literature and real life have shown that some business leaders prefer to begin by looking outward, adopting an outside-in (OI) strategic approach, while others concentrate on their firms’ internal resources, implementing an inside-out (IO) approach. However, little is known about the antecedents for OI and IO behaviors? What cause managers to adopt one of these approaches, is a mystery. This is important as according to the Upper Echelons theory (Hambrick and Mason 1984) organizations become reflections of their top managers. In an international context, Asseraf and Shoham (2014) proposed that firms’ export marketing strategy can be anticipated based on its IO or OI approach. Specifically, they suggested that OI leads to the development of marketing capabilities while IO leads to the development of technological capabilities. This line of thinking follows Atuhene-Gima (2001) notion that strategic orientations “shape the way organizational members process information and react to the environment through the nature of control systems and rewards they engender” (p. 55). Hence, strategic approaches of managers are important for the development of international marketing activity as they have the potential to shape the way firms approach international markets. Accordingly, the purpose of this study (based on in-depth interviews with senior manages) is to (1) identify the underlying sources of OI and IO to provide insights into what causes managers to harbor OI or IO approach and (2) provide insights into the consequences of OI or IO in the context of international marketing. Our qualitative study, which is exploratory in nature, revealed that an OI approach is crucial for international marketing and that an important driver for developing such approach is ‘professional drivers’. However, we suggest that at this early stage of research, the lack of empirical evidence should not be interpreted as invalidating theoretically based other drivers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDevelopments in Marketing Science
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages2
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NameDevelopments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
ISSN (Print)2363-6165
ISSN (Electronic)2363-6173

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Academy of Marketing Science.


  • Inside-out
  • Marketing capabilities
  • Outside-in
  • Strategic orientations
  • Strategic performance
  • Technological capabilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing
  • Strategy and Management


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