Towards a unified typology of digital communication technologies in international business: a tool for management and research

Christopher Hazlehurst*, Michael Etter, Keith D. Brouthers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: Digital communication technologies have become ubiquitous for various firm processes related to international business (IB) and global strategy. However, IB and strategy scholars lack an encompassing and theory-based typology of these technologies that facilitates analysis and discussion of their uses and effects. Likewise, managers have a large choice of technologies at their disposal making it difficult to determine what technology to use in different IB areas. This paper aims to develop a typology of digital communication technologies based on the synchronicity and interactivity of these technologies and capture their fundamental social and temporal dimensions. This results in four ideal types: broadcasting, corresponding, aggregating and collaborating technologies. Design/methodology/approach: This is a conceptual paper incorporating theoretical perspectives to theorize about four ideal types of digital communication technologies. A subsequent empirical test of this typology has been provided in the appendix. Findings: The authors discuss how the typology might be applied in IB decisions and some of the contingencies that impact this choice. Building on that, the authors develop directions for future research to increase their understanding of the use of digital communication technologies to help improve IB functions. Overall, the authors suggest future research explores contingencies about where and when different types of digital communication technologies should be used. Finally, the authors provide implication of having a unified typology for both academics and managers. Originality/value: The authors offer a robust framework for thinking about and capturing different types of digital communication technologies that can be applied by researchers and used by managers when making decisions related to IB. The authors also provide some initial testing of the typology with a three-country study design helping to determine its validity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-458
Number of pages22
JournalMultinational Business Review
Issue number4
Early online date17 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023


  • Digitalization
  • Digital technology
  • Communication Technologies
  • International business
  • ICT
  • Typology


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