KISE-Project - The Keys to Internalization of the Spanish Enterprise: A Dynamic and Conceptual Analysis

KISE-Project - The Keys to Internalization of the Spanish Enterprise: A Dynamic and Conceptual Analysis

Project owner / organizer
Universidad Complutense de Madrid ()
From - Until
01.01.2007 - 31.12.2009
Puig, Nuria

This project was carried out from 2007 through 2009 with the support of the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science with the aim of contributing to a better understanding of the internationalization process of firms with the tools and long-term perspective of business history. It did so by identifying and explaining the historical determinants of the internationalization of Spanish firms from the late 19th century to the present. Its main hypothesis was that the recent and spectacular internationalization of Spanish business is the result of a previous and complex learning process, parallel to the diffusion of the second and third industrial revolutions and strongly influenced by foreign direct investment and national business cultures. The Kise-project draws from previous research on the role of national and international business networks in 20th century Spain that resulted in the creation of a large database of companies and entrepreneurs, as well as in the reconstruction of patterns of inward foreign direct investment patterns in Spain from the 1880s onwards. Five broad tasks defined the individual and collective efforts of the Kise-project: 1) Reconstructing the formation process of the 200 largest Spanish multinationals; 2) Analyzing the connections between these firms and their supporting business groups and networks at regional, national and international level; 3) Identifying and explaining the main internationalization strategies of the 200 largest firms during the 20th century; 4) Assessing the role played by family firms and groups in the Spanish process of internationalization; and 5) Elaborating a dynamic typology that allow us to draw international comparisons as well as to challenge international business theories on a solid empirical ground. Last but not least, the Kise-project wanted to encourage the study of the internationalization of Spanish business at firm and industry level by scholars outside our group through the organization of workshops and the edition of special issues.

The internationalization of the Spanish firm is a recent phenomenon to which both Applied Economics and Management Sciences are paying considerable attention. The strategies of internationalization and the competitive capabilities of the Spanish firm, however, tend to be approached as is they were given, not learned and historically rooted. Yet the research experience acquired by the proposing group, as well as the results of two decades long research on Spanish business history supports the hypothesis that the competitive capabilities that have favored the internationalization of the Spanish firm have been the outcome of a long and complex process. Two factors stand out in this process: 1) foreign direct investment in Spain, that has helped create technological, organizational, managerial, and commercial capabilities; and 2) national business culture, particularly that attached to the family firm and dominant business groups and networks, many of them linked for decades to foreign direct investment. It is not possible to understand fully the current internationalization process without looking at and explaining how competitive capabilities have been forged over time.

Keywords: Globalization, Internationalization, Spain, 20th century, Firm, Business Groups, Business Networks, Family Firm, Entrepreneurial Capabilities, Learning Processes, Business Culture.

Members: Nuria Puig, Eugenio Torres, Matthias Kipping, Adoración Álvaro, Esther Sánchez, Rafael Castro and María Fernández-Moya.

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English, Spanish