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The concept of “spatial knowledge” used by top-management-teams and CEOs in internationalization
Multinational Business Review  (IF2.886),  Pub Date : 2021-05-28, DOI: 10.1108/mbr-07-2020-0144
K. Skylar Powell, Eunah Lim


Top-management-teams (TMTs) and chief executive officers (CEOs) dealing with internationalization are naturally predisposed to deal with space, so they will consult “spatial knowledge.” The purpose of this paper is to offer a conceptual description of spatial knowledge used by TMTs/CEOs and to describe how the use of spatial knowledge can be triggered and the resulting biases that arise from it. The description of spatial knowledge is also discussed in relation to core international business (IB) theories/models.


This is a conceptual study.


TMTs/CEOs use spatial knowledge for internationalization decisions. This spatial knowledge is “declarative” because it involves knowledge of places and associated characteristics or attributes, “configurational” because it involves knowledge of various types of relative positions and proximities between places and “procedural” because it involves knowledge of how to structure transactions, operate or organize interdependencies between locations. Additionally, TMTs/CEOs individually have spatial knowledge that is uniquely distorted. Then, finally, when TMTs/CEOs consult spatial knowledge to identify international opportunities or solutions, their search process may entail distance and directional biases as a result of their spatial knowledge.


This is the first paper to introduce the notion of “spatial knowledge” to the research on TMT/CEO experiences and internationalization and IB research in general.