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Real options theory in international business

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Tailan Chi, Jing Li, Lenos G. Trigeorgis, Andrianos E. Tsekrekos

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-553
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of International Business Studies
Issue number4
Published1 Jun 2019

King's Authors


The last quarter century has witnessed substantial growth in applications of real options theory (ROT) to international business (IB) research. In this review, we explicate the core ROT concepts in the IB context and discuss the contributions of ROT-based research to three core IB issues: timing and scale of market entry or exit, entry mode and governance form, and the role of multinational networks. Based on our review, we propose a holistic ROT view of the multinational enterprise that synthesizes the insights of existing studies. Finally, to move the field forward, we highlight key questions and challenges in current ROT-based work, provide a more precise definition of exogenous and endogenous uncertainty, suggest empirical designs to test unique ROT predictions, and explore areas where ROT can be combined with other theoretical perspectives to better understand IB phenomena.

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