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European J. International Management, Vol. 11, No. 6, 2017
An empirical study of food and beverage chains’
internationalisation: advancing intangible resource
theory and research
Tsui-Yii Shih
Department of International Business,
National Taipei University of Business,
Taipei City 100, Taiwan
Email: [email protected]
Abstract: This study aims to identify important intangible resource dimensions
and examines their effects on the degrees of internationalisation and
performance of food and beverage chains. International food and beverage
chains in Taiwan’s market serve as the target sample, and managers’
perceptions are examined to verify the research content. A second-order PLS
method is adopted in order to analyse the conceptual framework. The findings
of the study indicate that reputation, technology and organisational culture play
significant roles in firms’ internationalisation. Further, technology has little
effect, but reputation and organisational culture both have a positive and
significant impact on F&B chains’ performance. Advanced descriptions of
practical situations, theoretical contributions and managerial implications are
provided by this study in order to further the academic research on the food and
beverage industry and help chains that plan to internationalise and improve
their performance.
Keywords: partial least squares; resource-based view; sustainable competitive
advantage; reputation; organisational culture.
Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Shih, T-Y. (2017)
‘An empirical study of food and beverage chains’ internationalisation:
advancing intangible resource theory and research’, European J. International
Management, Vol. 11, No. 6, pp.660–687.
Biographical notes: Tsui-Yii Shih (PhD, National Chiao Tung University,
Taiwan, China) is an Associate Professor in the Department of International
Business at the National Taipei University of Business. Her research interests
include international business, marketing, industrial analysis and decision
science. Her research has been published or accepted in such journals as the
Service Industries Journal, Asia Pacific Journal of Management, European
Journal of Operational Research and International Journal of Technology
Management.
This paper is a revised and expanded version of a paper entitled ‘A study
of international competitiveness of Taiwanese food and beverage chains’
presented at the ‘AIBSEAR 2013 Academy of International Business Southeast
Asia Regional Conference’, Bali, Indonesia, 4–6 December 2013.
Copyright © 2017 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.
An empirical study of food and beverage chains’ internationalisation
1
661
Introduction
When firms consider internationalisation, resources and capability are deemed necessary
to carry out substantial operations in competitive global environments. Tangible
resources are easy to observe and imitate making them both achievable and obtainable
for firms entering a market. However, intangible resources are difficult to build
and manage in a short time, and so are targets that firms seek to establish and maintain.
In the academic world, research has confirmed the importance of intangible resources for
both successful firm operations and internationalisation (e.g. Galbreath, 2005; Ahn and
York, 2011). For instance, reputation (e.g. store atmosphere, branding competencies,
relationships with suppliers and customers; see Alessandri and Todd, 2004; VargasHernández and Noruzi, 2010; Arnett and Madhavaram, 2012), technology (e.g. product
innovation, IT application; see Bowen and Leinback, 2006; Antoldi et al., 2013), or
organisational culture (e.g. supportive cultures, hierarchical cultures; see Gray and
McNaughton, 2010; Porter, 2011) are more difficult to procure or imitate; in comparison
to tangible resources, they are regarded as important competitive advantages for firms,
enabling them to outperform their competitors, achieve successful internationalisation
and maintain satisfactory performance (e.g. Wah and Meng, 2011; Evers, 2011;
Cavaliere and Lombardi, 2013). However, how intangible resources affect various types
firms’ operations still lack the consistent viewpoints of researchers, for example, while
IT investments are important in the hospitality industry as enterprises seek global
expansion, those investments do not always guarantee suitable returns; therefore,
research that clarifies in detail how IT can improve firms internationalisation and
performance is required (see Cohen and Olsen, 2013; Melián-González and BulchandGidumal, 2016). Moreover, while many researchers have devoted numerous articles to
organisational culture, relatively few articles have contributed to the relationship
between culture and internationalisation or performance research (Mousavi et al., 2015).
For these reasons, to capture the roles of intangible resources in firms’ degrees of
internationalisation and performance is an interesting and important topic for researchers
to further verify using empirical studies.
Owing to advancements in both technology and chain trends, more and more food
and beverage (F&B) stores are seeking fast expansion and internationalisation. F&B
chains are an interesting research target because they possess manufacturing and service
features, and utilise the research area of the hospitality industry (Kim, 2014). The
potential global markets for F&B chains are large, as people around the world demand
delicious food and beverage products. Therefore, F&B chains have international market
expansion opportunities and must meet various challenges in their internationalisation
strategies. These challenges include increasing their international competitive
advantages, conquering the pressures of local responses and identifying clear
international market positions. In general, most food and beverage firms are born from
small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The opportunity to become an F&B chain and
successfully internationalise depends on being unique, imitating competitive advantages
and acquiring consumer approval of products/services. To achieve an international
performance, F&B chains usually drop products that are difficult to sell in global markets
and focus on a few worldwide core products (Filippaios and Rama, 2008). They may also
develop new products specific to the tastes of consumers in different countries.
Successful internationalisation of F&B chains relies not only on physically superior
products/services but also on other tangible and intangible resource advantages. Notably,
662
T-Y. Shih
the current literature on F&B chain internationalisation has been limited largely to
exploratory and descriptive analyses, and lacks a theoretical foundation and academic
insight. This study fills the gap that identifies intangible resource advantages in relation
to F&B chain features, and combines them into three broad dimensions, as based
on literature review, and discusses their varied influences on F&B chains DOI and
performance.
Consequently, the objectives of this study are to investigate and evaluate F&B chain
manager perceptions, to evaluate the determinate effects of intangible resource
advantages (reputation, technology, and organisational culture) and to examine their
importance in comprehending F&B chain internationalisation prospectuses and
performance. This study develops a survey (comprised of 65 international F&B chain
responses) by creating a structural equation model using Smart PLS methods to identify
F&B chain internationalisation behaviour. The following section reviews the literature on
competitive advantage and RBV theory (focused in particular on intangible resource
advantages), degree of internationalisation (DOI) and performance measurements. The
conceptual framework and hypotheses of this study are developed accordingly. The third
section describes the research methodology, and the fourth section states the empirical
results. Finally, discussion and conclusions, management implications and limitations are
presented.
2
Literature review
2.1 Concept dimensions: intangible resource advantages,
internationalisation and performance
The evolution of business strategy has been primarily driven by the practical needs of
enterprises rather than by the development of theory (Grant, 2013). When it comes to
firm administration, theory has focused on financial budgeting (in 1950s), corporate
planning (1960s), the emergence of strategic management (1970s, e.g. industry analysis
and competitive positioning), the quest for a competitive advantage (1990s, e.g. an
emphasis on resources and capabilities, shareholder value maximisation, etc.), and
adapting to turbulence (2012s; see Grant, 2013). Barney (1991) indicates that economic
models of organisational phenomena (e.g. agency theory [see Jensen and Meckling,
1976] and transaction costs [see Williamson, 1987]) fundamentally contradict models of
organisation based in organisational theory, organisational behaviour, contingency theory
(Donaldson, 1987) or resource-based models of sustained competitive advantage
(Barney, 1991). Habbershon and Williams (1999) suggest that agency theory and
transaction cost theory can be integrated into resource-based theory under specific
conditions. In research concerning store chains, agency theory and transaction cost theory
have been advanced in order to explain franchisors’ actions (Perdreau et al., 2015).
Gaining and preserving a sustainable competitive advantage and superior
performance are functions of the core (strategic) resources and capabilities that each
organisation brings to the competition (Carmeli, 2004). The Resource-Based View
(RBV) of competitive advantage provides a theoretical framework from the field of
strategic management for assessing the competitive advantage of a firm (Habbershon and
Williams, 1999). Descriptions and measurements of competences and competitive
advantage are central to international business research. According to the available
An empirical study of food and beverage chains’ internationalisation
663
studies, core competences make it possible for firms to develop a framework that is able
to address the key dimensions of strategic management (Post, 1997). Competitive
advantage refers to the extent to which a firm is able to create a defensible position over
its competitors (Li et al., 2006; Porter, 2011). In the service industry, research has
determined the various factors of competitive advantage that are required to support
successful operations or internationalisation. The competitive advantage of service firms
may be comprised of brand identification, customer loyalty (Nayyar, 1990), product,
process and managerial innovation, relationship/pre-commitment contracts, information
technology (Bharadwaj et al., 1993), network effects, proprietary technology and
reputation (see O’Farrell et al., 1993; Shih, 2010). These perspectives originate in
resource-based theory and strategic management implications.
In terms of resource-based theory, resources can be divided into tangible assets (e.g.
financial assets and physical assets) and intangible assets (e.g. managerial competence,
technology and reputation, etc.) (Aaker, 1989; Dhanaraj and Beamish, 2003). According
to Pfeffer (1994), traditional sources of success (e.g. product and process technology,
access to financial resources, and economies of scale, etc.) are still able to provide a firm
with a competitive advantage, but are less important now than they were previously seen
to be, particularly in comparison to organisational culture and capabilities, which are
derived from how people are managed. According to the resource-based perspective,
a firm can be examined based on the intangible resources that are unique to it.
These resources, often referred to as organisational competencies, include internal
processes, human resources, and other intangible assets (e.g. reputation, see Poza et al.,
2004). Therefore, firm value is primarily generated by intangible resources, including
capabilities, networks and other intangible resources (e.g. corporate culture, brands and
reputation, innovative products, knowledge of high-quality production processes, reliable
suppliers, efficient distribution networks, etc.); these should be sustainable and are
typically not fungible (Barney, 1991; Gray and McNaughton, 2010; Vargas-Hernández
and Noruzi, 2010). Moreover, intangible resources are more easily exploited in
international activities because they are able to be used simultaneously in more than one
market at no additional expense or at low cost (Fernández-Olmos and Díez-Vialb, 2013).
Intangible resource advantages therefore affect the success and business performance of
small and medium-sized enterprises (Haase and Franco, 2015). Table 1 summarises a
review of the discussions and applications in relation to intangible resource theory as
well as research from 1972 to 2014. In Table 1, identifications or applications in relation
to intangible resources, as discussed in the academic world, can be identified from
agency theory (e.g. the concern of agency costs, see Jensen and Meckling, 1976),
contingency determinism and strategic choice (with a focus on strategy and structural
adjustment, see Donaldson, 1987), organisation theory (placing an emphasis on the
organisation of internal transactions and the design of employment relations, see
Williamson, 1987), the resource-based viewpoint (e.g. valuable resources, rare resources,
etc., see Barney, 1991), the source of a firm’s competitive advantage (see Carmeli, 2004;
Sekliuckienė, 2008) and can determine firm performance (see Celec et al., 2014), growth,
or international diversification (see Fernández-Olmos and Díez-Vialb, 2013). According
to the practical observation of F&B chains operations, this study selects reputation,
technology, and organisational culture as the dimensions of intangible resources to
investigate, and aims to identify whether firms possessing higher perception degree on
these intangible resource dimensions (reputation, technology, and organisational culture)
exhibit higher degrees of internationalisation (hereafter DOI) and performance.
Strategy and structural adjustment
The organisation of internal transactions
The design of employment relations
Value resources
Rareness resources
Imperfect imitability resources
Substitutability
Assets within a legal context
Assets without a legal context
Competencies: know-how, organisational
culture
Reputation
Employee know-how
Culture
Network
Databases
Work force and how it is managed
Training and skill development
The externalisation of employment
Skills (leadership competencies)
Assets (reputational capital)
Dynamic capabilities





















Donaldson (1987)
Williamson (1987)
Barney (1991)
Hall (1992)
Hall (1993)
Pfeffer (1994)
Petrick et al. (1999)
Winter (2003)

Competitive advantage
Core capability differentials
Sustainable global competitive
advantage
Competitive advantage



Sustainable competitive advantage
Sustainable competitive advantage
Sustained competitive advantage
Efficient boundaries between
firms and markets




Performance










Dynamic capability
Core capability differentials
Organisational culture and capabilities
Sustainable competitive advantage
Sustainable competitive advantage
Resource-based model
Transaction cost
Organisation theory
Contingency determinism and strategic choice
Contingency theory
Agency theory
The theory of property rights
The theory of finance
Moderator, mediate variable, or theory application



Table 1

Agency cost

Jensen and Meckling
(1976)
Pareto optimality
Dependent variables

Independent variables (intangible resources)
Author/year
664
T-Y. Shih
Review of relevant literature on intangible resource theory and application
Intellectual property rights; Contracts; Trade
secrets
Public knowledge
People-dependent or subjective resources of
know-how
Networks
Organisational culture
Reputations of products and companies.
Capabilities
Skill
Tradition
Technological resources
Reputational resources
Human capital
Human resource
Brand
Management experience
Market and innovation capabilities
Entrepreneurial orientation
Intellectual property assets
Managerial assets
Network assets















Jiang et al. (2011)
Johnson et al. (2012)
Fernández-Olmos
and Díez-Vialb (2013)
Celec et al.
(2014)
Kumlu (2014)
Note:
Managerial competencies
Human resources
Financial resources



Sekliuckienė (2008)
Data are compiled by the authors.






Perceived export performance
SMEs export performance
International diversification
Performance
Firm performance


Strategic organisational resources















Competitive export strategies
Resource-based theory
Resource-based theory
Dynamic capability
Entrepreneurship
Resource-based theory
Competitive advantage
Transformation
Dynamic and historic capability
Firm age, firm size and firm long-term
investment
Foreign direct investment (FDI)
Geographical region
Firm ownership
Sustainable competitive advantage
Resource-based theory
Competitive advantage creation
Moderator, mediate variable, or theory application


Table 1


Input-based resources
Conversion-based resources
Output-based resources



Carmeli (2004)
Performance
Dependent variables

Independent variables (intangible resources)
Author/year
An empirical study of food and beverage chains’ internationalisation
665
Review of relevant literature on intangible resource theory and application (continued)
666
T-Y. Shih
Internationalisation is a complex phenomenon that passes through multiple stages.
Sullivan (1994) suggests five indicators for measuring DOI (including foreign sales as a
percentage of total sales (FSTS), overseas subsidiaries as a percentage of total
subsidiaries (OSTS), foreign assets as a percentage of total assets (FATA), psychic
dispersion of international operations (PDIO), and top managers’ international
experience (TMIE), etc.). These DOI indices are broadly discussed (Curci et al., 2013) or
challenged by researchers (Ramaswamy et al., 1996; Christophe and Lee, 2005). Some
researchers consider that aggregating the five indices to present the domain of firm
internationalisation is not well specified if it cannot comprise performance indices
(Ramaswamy et al., 1996) or lacks significant explanatory power when from a marketbased test (Christophe and Lee, 2005). Another aspect, namely the geographic dispersion
and a straightforward count of the number of countries in which a firm operates, are
important considerations of researchers (e.g. Fisch and Oesterle, 2003; Caligiuri et al.,
2004). According to Shih (2010), the five explanations for the DOI item are: ‘focus on
domestic market’; ‘international market information collection, but have not invested’;
‘in the initial stage of international allocation’; ‘in the growth stage of international
allocation, focusing on specific countries’; and ‘worldwide allocation’. The higher the
number, the higher the DOI. In this study, DOI is composed of two factors: judgemental
attitudes (Shih, 2010) and the number of countries operated in by F&B chains (Fisch and
Oesterle, 2003; Caligiuri et al., 2004). Finally, for performance variables, researchers use
a variety of indicators including ROE, ROA, and financial ratios. Attitudes such as
managers’ satisfaction or experiences, etc., have also been adopted in measuring
performance (see Chiao et al., 2006; Cleason et al., 2006; He and Wei, 2011). In this
study, the perceived attitudinal scale is adopted to measure responses to a firm’s
internationalisation performance (Powell and Dent-Micallef, 1997; He and Wei, 2011).
This includes the managers’ perceived degree of satisfaction regarding F&B chain
international sales, profits, and performance, in comparison with their competitors. In the
following sections, this study reviews the literature in relation to the relationships
between intangible resource advantages and DOI and performance.
2.2 The effects of reputation on firms DOI and performance
Within the resource-based theory and organisational effectiveness theory, the reputation
of a firm can be valuable, hard to duplicate and an irreplaceable competitive advantage,
which is rated the top contributor to firm performance (Hall, 1992; Dollinger et al.,
1997). Therefore, strategic efforts of firms aim towards building and maintaining a good
reputation (among customers, suppliers and distributors, etc.) (Roberts and Dowling,
2002; Galbreath, 2005). Reputation can be regarded as an intangible asset and has been
adopted in this way to discuss firm reputation by researchers (Hall, 1992; Ang and
Wight, 2009; Antoldi et al., 2013), who usually discuss the reputation of products or
companies (Hall, 1993). Reputation is regarded as the sum of the public’s perceptions of
a firm’s corporate actions in the commercial markets where the firm operates. In this
study, we focus on two sub-dimensions: branding and partnership. A strong brand helps
to communicate to the public that the company and its offerings are relevant and
uniquely able to meet customer needs (Ettenson and Knowles, 2008). Furthermore, by
being associated with a partner with a good reputation, an organisation enhances its
legitimacy, which in turn aids with establishing further networks (Moen et al., 2010). A
good corporate reputation is an emblem of a firm’s trustworthiness and effectiveness, and
An empirical study of food and beverage chains’ internationalisation
667
comprises the firm’s branding and partnership (Dollinger et al., 1997; Wah and Meng,
2011). The better a firm’s reputation (brand- and firm-level) (Houston, 2003), the more
likely it is to be targeted for various cooperative activity (e.g. joint ventures and
franchises) (Dollinger et al., 1997) and consumer consumption.
Reputation encompasses a number of features, which conform the advantage status
of a firm regarding its competitors and survival in times of economic turbulence
(Fernández-Gámeza et al., 2016). Reputation can therefore be necessary for firms to
successfully expand business operations, internationalise (Wah and Meng, 2011), and
perform financially well (Galbreath, 2005; Wah and Meng, 2011; Gatzert, 2015).
Observing the market environment of F&B chains, it is hypothesised that both customer
perceptions and partnerships are important sources of reputational advantage. This study
thus identifies that the maintenance of firms reputation may be composed of two
dimensions: the customer dimension (branding level) (Aaker, 1989; Keller, 2001) and the
supplier or cooperator dimension (partnership) (Langerak and Hultink, 2005; Moen et al.,
2010). When discussing how reputation constructs affect firm internationalisation and
performance, these two factors can’t be ignored and thus are integrated and evaluated in
the study. To verify the effects of reputation on F&B chains DOI and performance, the
following hypotheses are offered:
Hypothesis 1: Higher perceived or practical advantage in terms of the reputation of an
F&B chain is a significant determinant of the degree of internationalisation of an F&B
chain.
Hypothesis 2: Higher perceived or practical advantage in terms of the reputation of an
F&B chain is a significant determinant of the perceived or practical performance of an
F&B chain.
2.3 The effects of technology on firms DOI and performance
Technology can be regarded as an intangible asset and includes such things as
databases, quality/functionality, innovation, customer services and after sales services.
Alternatively, it could refer to intangible skills such as perceived quality/know-how
(Hall, 1992), information in the public domain (Hall, 1993), data operations (Zadrozny,
2006), IT applications (Jeffers, 2010), work-related knowledge/know how/IT systems
(Antoldi et al., 2013), and so on. A firm’s involvement in diverse markets also means that
it enters an established network of manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and other
technology providers, thereby increasing the importance of its technological advantages
(Chetty, 2004). Explanations of technology have been discussed and developed by
numerous researchers; they may be comprised of three factors: product innovation (Li
and Calantone, 1998; Porter, 2011), products/services (P&S) quality (Li and Calantone,
1998) and IT application (Bowen and Leinback, 2006; Evers, 2011; Soriano et al., 2014).
Freeman et al. (2006) conclude that smaller global firms are able to overcome constraints
(e.g. lack of economies of scale and lack of financial resources) and achieve rapid growth
internationally by using technology. Technology contributes to value creation across a
variety of geographical and industrial contexts, and can be leveraged to benefit entire
MNEs (Bowen and Leinback, 2006; Soriano et al., 2014). Enterprises have turned to IT
into a way to cope with an environment, as characterised by globalisation and
competition (Melián-González and Bulchand-Gidumal, 2016). Namely, the advent of
technology has enabled firms to leapfrog their internationalisation goals (Falahat et al.,
2016).
668
T-Y. Shih
Consequently, a synergistic combination of technology advantages (e.g. product
innovation, P&S quality, IT application, etc.) along with other organisational resources
enhances a firm’s internationalisation efforts (Melián-González and Bulchand-Gidumal,
2016; Falahat et al., 2016) and sustains growth and performance (Zhuang and Lederer,
2006; Wu and Wang, 2007; Melián-González and Bulchand-Gidumal, 2016). However,
Massa and Testa (2009) indicate that food producers are not necessarily eager technology
users and tend to focus on improvements of products (e.g. line-extensions and
homogeneous successful products). To clarify the practical situation of international F&B
chains in Taiwan, this study measures the effects of technology advantage (i.e. product
innovation (Porter, 2011), P&S quality (Hall, 1992) and IT application (Jeffers, 2010;
Madhani, 2013) on F&B chains as they apply to firm internationalisation and
performance. The following hypotheses are offered.
Hypothesis 3: Higher perceived or practical advantage in terms of the technological
resources of an F&B chain is a significant determinant of the degree of
internationalisation of an F&B chain.
Hypothesis 4: Higher perceived or practical advantage in terms of the technological
resources of an F&B chain is a significant determinant of the perceived or practical
performance of an F&B chain.
2.4 The effects of organisational culture on firms DOI and performance
Organisational culture can be seen as made up of intangible capabilities such as cultural
capabilities (Hall, 1993) or can be regarded as the collective attitudes which add up to a
firm’s organisational culture (Hall, 1992; Madhani, 2013). Barney (1991) and Gray and
McNaughton (2010) indicate that one competitive advantage for firms resides in the
intangible resource that is organisational culture. Organisational culture, that is, has been
proved to affect performance, market development and the profit growth of firms.
Researchers view organisational culture as comprising control and exchange mechanisms
as well as being a source of sustained competitive advantage (Barney, 1991; Lau and
Ngo, 1996). The construct of organisational culture has been defined in a number of
ways. For instance, Wallach (1983) divides organisational culture into three factors:
innovative culture, supportive culture and bureaucratic culture when considering
organisation atmosphere and the work environment. Deshapandé and Farley (2004)
adopt four factors: competitive (market) culture, entrepreneurial (adhocracy) culture,
bureaucratic (hierarchy) culture and consensual (clan) culture, etc. Mousavi et al.’s
(2015) study identifies four components to construct a firm’s organisational culture,
namely involvement component, consistency component, adaptability component, and
mission component, which have various effects on enterprise performance. In academia,
organisational culture has been proved to affect the performance (Hofstede, 1988;
Mousavi et al., 2015), market development (Mousavi et al., 2015) and profit growth of
firms (Lau and Ngo, 1996; Kwantes and Boglarsky, 2007).
A supportive and dynamic organisational culture has a positive influence on certain
collaborative knowledge practices (Yoo et al., 2010), and is more likely to mean that a
strategy has been formulated and implemented that will guide firm outcomes (CristianLiviu, 2013). However, a hierarchical (bureaucratic) culture is shown to yield high
organisational efficiency (Berson et al., 2008) or affect performance (Naranjo-Valenciaa
An empirical study of food and beverage chains’ internationalisation
669
et al., 2015). Furthermore, by operating in more than one country, successful MNEs
provide an effective organisational vehicle by which to transfer knowledge across
national boundaries (Chiao et al., 2006; Cavaliere and Lombardi, 2013). Supportive,
adaptive and flexible cultures are useful in regard to knowledge generation, while stable
and hierarchical (bureaucratic) cultures (highlighting efficiency and formalisation) also
relate to knowledge dissemination and collection. Both cultures, then, can be seen to
foster competitive advantages (Gray and McNaughton, 2010), thus creating superior
financial and non-financial performance (e.g. market development, internationalisation,
etc.) for firms (Chiao et al., 2006; Cavaliere and Lombardi, 2013; Gjurovikj, 2013).
Based on the above reviews and having observed the operation features (e.g. work
atmosphere and management modes) of international F&B chains, this study identifies
that supportive and cooperative culture (designed for work adaptation and flexibility) and
hierarchy (designed for work stability, efficiency and formalisation), as well as a
knowledge transferring culture (designed for knowledge transferring, technology/
capability/skill management) usually seem to appear in F&B chain organisations. This
study discusses whether F&B chains possess the higher supportive and cooperative
culture (S&C culture), the hierarchy and the knowledge transferring cultural
(H&K culture) characteristics (Wallach, 1983; Cristian-Liviu, 2013) that lead to
internationalisation and higher performance. Hypotheses 5 and 6 are thus framed as
follows:
Hypothesis 5: Higher perceived or practical advantage in terms of the S&C/H&K
organisational culture characteristics within F&B chains is a significant determinant of
the degree of internationalisation of F&B chains.
Hypothesis 6: Higher perceived or practical advantage in terms of the S&C/H&K
organisational culture characteristics within F&B chains is a significant determinant of
the perceived or practical performance of F&B chains.
3
Research methodology
The research selects international F&B chains in Taiwan’s F&B market as a target
sample and managers’ perceptions (obtained via a questionnaire survey) are examined in
order to verify the research content. The stores listed in Taiwan’s Chain Stores and
Franchise Association website (TCFA, see http://www.tcfa.org.tw/) are chosen for the
sampling frame. Furthermore, F&B chain websites provide the company’s contact
methods (e.g. Telephone or Email address). Initially, managers of F&B Chains were
contacted via phone or Email to solicit their participation in the survey. A total of 300
questionnaires were issued, and 114 valid responses (38%) were returned. After
removing 49 domestic F&B chains, there are 65 managers or top professionals in the
international F&B chains who responded in this questionnaire survey (see Appendix).
The data are used to confirm the key factors in F&B chains internationalisation.
Intangible resource advantages discussed in this study include reputation (e.g. Aaker,
1989; Langerak and Hultink, 2005; Moen et al., 2010), technology (see Hall, 1992;
Jeffers, 2010; Porter, 2011; Madhani, 2013), and organisational culture (Wallach, 1983;
Cristian-Liviu, 2013). In addition, DOI (Caligiuri et al., 2004; Shih, 2010) and
performance (Powell et al., 1997; He and Wei, 2011) of firms are both considered during
the questionnaire design process. Factors identified as influential in the literature review
670
T-Y. Shih
are introduced into the models. Partial Least Squares (PLS) is an alternative method of
structural equation modelling (SEM) (Chin, 1998). Compared to SEM techniques, PLS is
less stringent with measurement scale type, distributional assumptions and sample size
requirements (Chin, 1998; Goldschmidt and Tan, 1999). Owing to the small sample size
of this study, the authors consider PLS to be an appropriate analysis technique for this
study (Chin, 1998; Hair et al., 2012). Barclay et al. (1995) suggest that a valid PLS model
should use a minimum sample size of ten times the maximum number of paths for any
constructs in the outer model and inner model. Reinartz et al. (2009) indicated that even
if the sample size is relatively small, PLS possesses high levels of statistical power in
comparison to its covariance-based counterpart (Hair et al., 2012). This study adopts a
second-order PLS method to reduce the numbers of variables and paths. According to the
research framework, the highest number of paths is five (dependent variable: DOI,
performance). The sample size of this study is 65, which is more than ten times the
maximum number of paths aiming at a DOI and performance construct (six paths).
Hence, the sample size is enough for second-order PLS model analysis. In addition,
description analysis, ANOVA and other statistical techniques by SPSS software for
survey data are also used, and added to the discussions of findings in this study. The
research framework is as in Figure 1.
Figure 1
Research framework
Intangible Resources advantages
Reputation advantage
 Branding
 Partnership
H1, H3, H5
Degree of
Internationalisation
Number of invest countries
 Judgemental attitude
Technology advantage
 Product innovation
 Product/service quality
 IT application
Organisational culture advantage
 Supportive & cooperative culture
 Hierarchy & knowledge transferring
culture
H2, H4, H6
Performance
Judgemental attitude
The sample population consisted of both domestic and foreign F&B international chains
in the Taiwan F&B market. The sample includes 65 international F&B chains. 40% of
the returned questionnaires are from managers. The rest are from senior and professional
employees involved in their firm’s internationalisation or chain operation process. Five
point Likert-type attitude questions are developed based on a literature review.
Respondents are asked to compare their firms’ intangible resource advantages and
perceived performance with those of their competitors using a five-point Likert scale
(e.g. 1 = much worse than competitors and 5 = much better than competitors). According
to industry observations and secondary data, various levels of investment funds and
internationalisation experiences have resulted in F&B chains in Taiwan remaining at
different internationalisation stages. As this study excludes F&B chains that only operate
An empirical study of food and beverage chains’ internationalisation
671
in Taiwan, it uses three options to differentiate the DOI indicators. This study defines the
degree of internationalisation of F&B chains as to whether they have the confidence
and ability to serve foreign businesses and have worldwide allocation. Therefore, the
three attitudinal explanations for the DOI item are: ‘Option 1: in the initial stage of
international allocation’; ‘Option 2: in the growth stage of international allocation,
focusing on specific countries’; and ‘Option 3: worldwide allocation’. The higher the
number, the higher the DOI. In this study, we find that 43 F&B chains remain in the first
internationalisation stage, 14 in the second stage and eight in the third stage. The number
of countries invested in by responding F&B chains is also used to evaluate the firms
DOI.
4
Study findings
4.1 Industrial background and description analysis of survey data
Owing to the deep roots of Chinese culture and the influence of Japanese rule and
Western diet styles, different cooked food specialties have appeared that affect Taiwan’s
F&B market. From a historical point of view, an exploration of the Taiwanese F&B
industry, and its development, can be divided into six stages: (1) the snack store (1900–
1945), (2) the public canteen (1946–1955), (3) the diversification stage (1956–1978), (4)
the exclusive stage (1979–1989), (5) the comprehensive chain stage (1990–2000) (Yang
and Wu, 2003), and (6) the internationalisation stage (2001–present). There is close
synergy between Stages 5 and 6. This study focuses on the internationalisation chain
development of the industry in an increasingly competitive international environment.
According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Food and Beverage industry is
defined as being in a certain place, with live cooking of food or beverages, modulation,
and selling to customers primarily for on-site consumption of the service activities
(see http://www.moea.gov.tw and http://wiki.mbalib.com, 2013). As the Ministry of
Economic Affairs (2014) highlights, for almost two decades, the Taiwanese F&B
industry has sustained growth in the chain and the internationalisation of food and
beverage products/services. The sales volume of the F&B industry has grown from an
annual figure of NT$2615 billion in 2001 to NT$4129 billion in 2014 (see
http://www.moeasmea.gov.tw, 2015). The percentage of growth is reasonably stable,
having fluctuated between 1% and 8% per year from 2001 to 2014. For more details see
Figure 2. According to the survey reports of the Department of Statistics in the Ministry
of Economic Affairs (2012), the more common strategies adopted by Taiwanese F&B
chains include the expansion of distribution channels and scale of operations, as well as
improved service quality and product innovation. Table 2 lists the store numbers of F&B
chains (total store headquarters = 790) in Taiwan. According to the Taiwanese
chain store almanac 2015 (Gao, 2015), the types of F&B chains include fast food stores
(store headquarters = 248), coffee meals (store headquarters = 81), restaurants (store
headquarters = 330), and beverage stores (store headquarters = 131). In 2014 and 2015,
two emergent trends appeared in Taiwan’s F&B market: (1) high-star F&B chains; and
(2) multiple-combination features F&B chains (e.g. F&B chains combined with cultural
and creative merchandising).
672
T-Y. Shih
Table 2
Store numbers of F&B chains in Taiwan from 2010 to 2014
Year
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
526
557
624
706
790
Store numbers:
29,297
30,731
28,880
29,974
30,686
Direct stores
5287
5636
6297
7005
7257
24,010
25095
22,583
22,969
23,429
Type
Chain headquarters
Franchisees stores
Note:
Data are taken from Taiwan Chain store almanac 2015 (Gao, 2015).
Figure 2
Sales volume of the F&B industry in Taiwan from 2001 to 2014
4500
4000
3500
Sales volume
3000
2500
2000
1500
1000
500
0
Note:
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Others food types
124
132
122
134
130
139
140
146
147
158
165
169
174
179
Beverages
334
348
317
316
319
334
351
363
361
384
404
416
450
459
Restaurants
2156 2135 2196 2263 2446 2554 2683 2738 2754 2970 3240 3360 3384 3492
Data are taken from Department of Statistics, Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Available online at: http://www.moeasmea.gov.tw; Unit: NT$ billion dollars.
Description analysis displays the background of the respondents and the responding F&B
chains. Based on the returned questionnaires, 50.8% of the respondents are male and
49.2% of respondents are female. About 33.8% of the respondents are between 31 and
40 years old, and 52% have a university degree. Furthermore, 35% of respondents have
worked between 5 and 10 years, and 20% for more than ten years. According to the
respondents, major international investment decision-makers are the chain’s CEO, boss
or TMT (top management team). The business types of the surveyed F&B chains are
Chinese restaurant chains, foreign restaurant chains, fast food chains, beverage chains,
coffee shop chains, etc. Description analysis of the survey shows that three F&B chains
have been in existence for 40 years; around 22% have been in existence for less than
30 years but more than 20 years, and 37% of the F&B chains have been in existence
between 11 and 20 years. Surprisingly, 30% of the firms have existed for less than
10 years, and there is no significant difference in the average length of time within the
industry among firms assigned to the varied DOI stages. This study focuses on food and
beverage chains; the F&B industry consists of many chains with various numbers of
employees (the number may be from 100 employees to 10,000 employees). According to
the respondents, the top five countries operated by responding F&B chains are China,
Hong Kong, the USA, Malaysia and Singapore. Entry mode items are displayed in the
An empirical study of food and beverage chains’ internationalisation
673
questionnaire and are chosen by the responding firm managers. The major entry modes
used by responding F&B chains are franchises (46.2%), wholly owned operations (WOS,
26.2%), joint ventures (15.8%) and technology cooperation (15.8%).
4.2 Factor analysis, reliability, discriminant validity and CMV test
Smart PLS software is used for the research structure analysis. R2 values of the dependent
variables give an indication of the explanatory power of the structural model (Fornell and
Cha, 1994). The resulting structural model, as presented in Table 4, shows a substantial
R2 of 0.550 for DOI and 0.306 for performance. All R2 values of other factors are greater
than 0.5. These results appear to demonstrate that the concept model has significant
explanatory power. The aim of this analysis is to gain a better understanding of
the factors perceived to enhance or aid firms DOI and performance in terms of
intangible resource advantages. DOI factor is calculated by standardising scores of factor
loadings (attitudinal DOI and invested countries). As Table 3 shows, intangible resource
advantages, including branding, partnership, product innovation, P&S quality, IT
application, S&C culture and H&K culture factor, and dependent variables including
DOI and performance are all generated by the Smart PLS factor analysis. All factor
loadings of variables and Cronbach’s α exceed 0.6, while the values of composite
reliability exceed 0.7 and AVE values are over 0.5. The results suggest strong evidence
for construct reliability. Discriminant validity is assessed to ensure that a construct
differed from other constructs; the correlations between variables in any two constructs
should be lower than the square root of the average variance shared by variables within a
construct (Teo et al., 2003). As shown in Table 4, the square roots of the variance shared
between a construct and its measures are greater than the correlations between the
construct and any other construct in the model, satisfying the criteria for discriminant
validity. Finally, the responses from early and late respondents are not significantly
different, namely late responses do not differ from early responses and appear to be
without non-response bias.
Researchers have proposed some methods to measure CMV (common method
variance). For example, Chang et al. (2010) suggest using divergent sources of
information for key variables, and using different scale types to minimise CMV. In this
research, the variable Do1 is measured using a three-point scale. Variable Do2 is based
on absolute value (number of countries operated in by the company) as opposed to other
variables such as attitudinal variables measured using a five-point Likert scale.
Moreover, in this study, the 34 variables were entered into an exploratory factor analysis,
and unrotated principal component factor analysis revealed that the first factor does
not account for a majority of the variance (34.73%) (Harman’s one-factor test; Podsakoff
and Organ, 1986). The confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) also shows that the singlefactor model does not fit the data well, χ2/df = 5.68 (χ2 = 2996.19, df = 527, p = 0.00),
GFI = 0.58, AGFI = 0.52, CFI = 0.79, RMSEA = 0.14. The results suggest that common
method variance is not apparent in our study, and is unlikely to confound the
interpretations of results. Finally, Table 5 shows the second-order factor analysis and
convergence validity of the full model. All factor loadings of variables and Cronbach’s α
exceed 0.7, while the values of composite reliability exceed 0.8. In Table 5, the average
variances extracted (AVE) from all variables are over 0.5, again providing support for the
reliability of these latent variables. Five factors, including reputation, technology,
organisational culture, DOI and performance, appear to be appropriate for the next
second-order PLS structure equation analysis.
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Table 3
T-Y. Shih
Factor analysis and convergence validity of full models using the second-order PLS
method
Factor names
and question
items
Branding
Br1
Br2
Br3
Partnership
Pr1
Pr2
Pr3
Product
innovation
Pd1
Pd2
Pd3
Pd4
P&S quality
Pq1
Pq2
Pq3
IT application
Ia1
Ia2
Ia3
Ia4
S&C culture
Sc1
Sc2
Sc3
H&K culture
Bc1
Bc2
Bc3
DOI
Do1
Do2
Performance
Pe1
Pe2
Pe3
Note:
Factor
loadings
(t-values)
AVE
Composite Cronbach’s
Redundancy =
Communality R2
reliability
α
Communality*R2
0.879 (33.28)
0.840 (22.54) 0.74
0.865 (29.52)
0.89
0.82
0.74
0.83
0.62
0.853 (16.54)
0.856 (25.72) 0.70
0.816 (17.48)
0.87
0.79
0.70
0.77
0.54
0.656 (6.69)
0.706 (9.95)
0.52
0.816 (16.03)
0.721 (10.71)
0.81
0.69
0.52
0.69
0.36
0.822 (15.25)
0.845 (22.00) 0.63
0.708 (7.88)
0.83
0.70
0.63
0.60
0.37
0.845 (19.32)
0.852 (20.04)
0.66
0.797 (12.75)
0.756 (11.31)
0.88
0.82
0.66
0.69
0.45
0.804 (15.45)
0.727 (6.31) 0.58
0.755 (8.72)
0.80
0.64
0.58
0.59
0.34
0.907 (44.73)
0.832 (16.04) 0.65
0.663 (6.07)
0.84
0.72
0.65
0.75
0.49
0.973 (148.79)
0.93
0.966 (94.82)
0.96
0.93
0.93
0.55
0.51
0.807 (13.00)
0.820 (14.52) 0.65
0.797 (9.16)
0.84
0.73
0.65
0.30
0.19
AVE = Average Variance Extracted. t > 1.96 at p < 0.05; t > 2.58 at p < 0.01,
t > 3.29 at p < 0.001 for two-tailed tests.
An empirical study of food and beverage chains’ internationalisation
Table 4
675
Discriminant validity of conceptual framework
1
1. Branding
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
0.861
2. Partnership
0.608** 0.841
3. Product
innovation
0.652** 0.468** 0.726
4. P&S quality
0.724** 0.635** 0.571** 0.793
5. IT application
0.534** 0.285* 0.505** 0.421** 0.813
6. S&C culture
0.464** 0.340** 0.262* 0.354** 0.413** 0.761
7. H&K culture
0.705** 0.514** 0.560** 0.533** 0.584** 0.343** 0.806
8. DOI
0.673** 0.556** 0.477** 0.596** 0.575** 0.407** 0.669** 0.969
9. Performance
0.545** 0.313* 0.263* 0.431** 0.383** 0.400** 0.417** 0.436** 0.806
Mean
3.45
3.67
3.57
3.78
3.35
3.34
3.62
0.00
3.56
SD
0.68
0.60
0.50
0.53
0.59
0.45
0.56
1.00
0.54
Note:
Diagonal elements are the square roots of the average variance extracted
(AVE) for each latent variable; off-diagonal elements are inter-construct
correlations. The value of DOI is calculated by standardising scores of factor
loadings (attitudinal DOI and invested countries).
Table 5
Second-order factor analysis and convergence validity
Factor names and
question items
Factor loadings
(t-values)
AVE
Composite Cronbach’s
Communality
reliability
α
Reputation
Branding
0.915 (56.24)
Partnership
0.879 (32.34)
0.58
0.89
0.85
0.58
0.40
0.88
0.85
0.40
0.41
0.80
0.71
0.41
Technology
Product innovation
0.835 (18.77)
P&S quality
0.776 (13.89)
IT application
0.831 (20.72)
Organisational culture
S&C culture
0.772 (12.59)
H&K culture
0.869 (27.60)
Note:
AVE = Average Variance Extracted. t > 1.96 at p < 0.05; t > 2.58 at p < 0.01,
t > 3.29 at p < 0.001 for two-tailed tests.
4.3 Analysis of concept model based on the second order PLS method
The Stone–Geisser test, measured by test criteria Q2, is used to assess the predictive
relevance of the model (Chin, 1998; Fornell and Cha, 1994). Blindfolding is used to
obtain the DOI’s redundancy Q2 of 0.51 and the performance redundancy Q2 of 0.19 (see
Table 3). The results indicate that the model possesses predictive relevance. Furthermore,
this study adopts path coefficient values greater than 0.20 (t > 1.24 at p < 0.10) as a
standard by which to verify the hypotheses (Budianto and Yuliansyah, 2014; Taylor,
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T-Y. Shih
2015). The path analyses are submitted below. First, based on managers’ perceptions,
Model 1 suggests that a firm’s reputation (branding and partnerships) has a
positive relationship with firm DOI (REP → DOI = 0.680) and performance (REP →
performance = 0.478). Second, Model 2 suggests that based on managers’ perceptions, a
firm’s product innovation, P&S quality and IT applications have a positive relationship
with firm DOI and performance (TEC → DOI = 0.674; TEC → performance = 0.474).
Third, Model 3 suggests that both S&C culture and H&K culture have a positive
relationship with firm DOI (OC → DOI = 0.662) and performance (OC → performance
= 0.510). Fourth, the results of Model 4 (full model) demonstrate non-significant results
for the impact of technology on firm performance (TEC → performance = 0.094).
However, other factors significantly determine firm DOI (REP → DOI = 0.269; TEC →
DOI = 0.290; OC → DOI = 0.263) and performance (REP → performance = 0.242; OC
→ performance = 0.267). Table 6 lists the path coefficients (e.g. Mean and T-Values) of
the research model based on the PLS method. In summary, reputation, technology and
organisational culture obtain positive support for firm DOI (t-values > 1.96), and
reputation and organisational culture obtain support for firm performance (path
coefficients > 0.2). To sum up, the results of the research models of the PLS SEM
analysis strongly support H1, H3 and H5, provide weak support for H2 and H6, and do
not support H4 (see Table 6).
Table 6
Total effects (mean [original sample], t-statistics)
Model 1
Model 2
Model 3
Full model
Mean –
Mean –
Mean –
Mean –
original
original
original
original
sample
sample
sample
sample
(t-statistics) (t-statistics) (t-statistics) (t-statistics)
Full
model
Sig.
H1: Reputation  DOI
0.680***
(10.93)
0.269**
(2.00)
+S
H2: Reputation  Performance
0.478***
(4.86)
0.242*
(1.49)
+S
+S
H3: Technology  DOI
0.674***
(10.27)
0.290**
(2.55)
H4: Technology  Performance
0.474***
(4.96)
0.094
(0.49)
H5: Organisational culture  DOI
0.662***
(12.967)
0.263**
(2.20)
+S
H6: Organisational culture 
Performance
0.510***
(7.10)
0.267*
(1.61)
+S
Note:
5
* t > 1.24 at p < 0.10; ** t > 1.96 at p < 0.05; *** t > 2.58 at p < 0.01 for
two-tailed tests.
Discussion and conclusion
By using the methodology of PLS, this study develops a structural equation model to
identify intangible resource advantage-internationalisation-performance patterns for
F&B chains. The findings of this research provide support for the theoretical view
An empirical study of food and beverage chains’ internationalisation
677
(see Dhanaraj and Beamish, 2003; Bobillo et al., 2007) that intangible resource
advantages (e.g. reputation, technology and organisational culture) have significant
impacts on firm internationalisation. Namely, for F&B chain internationalisation, it is
important to consider: (1) the ability and ambition of consolidating commitments to
intangible resource advantages and (2) that service sector differences require the
implementation of different international operational strategies. The results further show
that intangible factors, such as reputation and organisational culture, are more important
than other factors in relation to a given F&B chain’s performance. For F&B chains,
technology may perhaps accelerate the expansion and operation of a chain’s
internationalisation, but it is not as important as a good reputation and superior
organisational culture when it comes to firm performance.
Reputation can be enhanced by strengthening brand symbolisation and reputation,
and by elevating the confidence and loyalty of stakeholders (customers and partners).
Technology can be created by enhancing product innovation and product and service
quality control, and by improving manufacturing/service efficiency using information
technology and technological communication in order to drive the speed of business
upgrades and adaptive abilities. Organisational culture design should be based on welldefined S&C or H&K mechanisms. These mechanisms help to construct organisational
systems and cooperative modes and work principles for F&B chains for the reference of
employees, and encourage the construction of management systems and knowledge
sharing, as well as create a collective intelligence that fosters proactive and intuitive
behaviour in the organisation (Massa and Testa, 2009). This practice will, in turn, support
firm internationalisation. The establishment of these mechanisms entails a cost to F&B
chains, and intellectual capital and production receipts sometimes need to be well
protected in order to avoid imitation by competitors or cooperators. Furthermore,
concerning the selection consideration of foreign countries, Luo and Tung (2007)
indicate that the investment strategies of MNEs succeed when they operate within
economies with strong historical and cultural ties. In this study, the global opportunities
sought by most small international F&B chains come from tapping niche opportunities,
such as the overseas Chinese commercial businesses in China, Hong Kong, and other
countries, or from taking advantage of opportunities in western culture countries, such as
the USA. Larger international F&B chains are capable of exploiting global market
opportunities rapidly and efficiently. Furthermore, in this study, the expansion modes of
foreign markets adopted by F&B chains include direct stores, voluntary chains and
regular chains. There are no significant differences among the different DOI firms.
Similarly, the top two foreign market entry modes adopted by F&B chains are franchises
(for speedy store expansion) and wholly owned operations (for quality and response to
local consumers); there are no significant differences among the various DOI firms. In
conclusion, intangible resource advantages of F&B chains seem to play more important
roles in their DOI and performance than market entry decision factors do, such as
expansion modes and market entry modes. Finally, transnational or glocalisation
strategies are usually adopted by enterprises, such as F&B chains internationalisation.
While the national culture or geographic distance is near a specific area or region, a
transnational strategy offers the centralisation of the benefits provided by a global
strategy, in addition to the local responsiveness characteristics of domestic strategies. The
benefits of a transnational strategy contribute structure to F&B chains, by both
standardising and differentiating its products or services. On the contrary, while host
countries have different national cultures in comparison with the home country, F&B
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T-Y. Shih
chains that adopt the glocalisation strategy tend to provide international products
constructed according to the particularities of the local culture in which they are sold.
When an F&B international chain considers internationalising, the managerial
implications of this study’s findings are offered as follows. (1) Integrate and enhance
reputation on both customer and partner sides: reputation is important for firms, as has
been affirmed by considerable research (Dollinger et al., 1997; Galbreath, 2005). The key
is to build the brand (Martínez-Ruiz et al., 2014; Celec et al., 2014) in the commercial
market and maintain a good cooperative relationship with partners. For F&B chain
enterprises that want to internationalise, this study recommends the integration and
enhancement of both firm customer reputation (e.g. brand awareness, brand image, brand
association, etc.) and partner reputation (e.g. controlling partnerships among direct stores,
franchise stores, distributors, material providers, etc.). (2) Advance technological
resources over time: the multinational operations of international firms have
several modes, such as globalisation and localisation, or both. International F&B chains
mainly adopt a third method, transnationalisation or glocalisation. For F&B chain
internationalisation, the question is how to keep the ‘recipe’ of the product, while
maintaining mass production and consistent product/service quality. Knowledge
management and SOP are the solutions broadly adopted by international F&B chains. To
maintain consistent taste and quality for various products and services in different stores,
production technology must possess such features as high levels of standardisation and
automation, as well as minimal influence from human resources. Thus, technological
advantages may help to enrich the comprehension of internationalisation (Testa, 2011).
Consequently, successful internationalisation requires F&B chains to understand market
trends and customer needs and develop new products and markets accordingly, to adopt
high quality innovation technology, to maintain the overall quality of products/services
and to build efficiency and effective distribution and chain store management principles
in terms of IT architectures and information communication systems. (3) Consolidate a
supportive and cooperative or hierarchical and knowledge transferring organisational
culture: firm culture can be a source of sustainable competitive advantage and is valuable
and difficult to imitate (Barney, 1986). The sources of competitive advantage for a
manufacturing firm may come from its technological, financial, marketing, production
advantages, etc. In addition to the competitive advantages of manufacturing firms, a
service firm needs to pay attention to the human mind (e.g. customers, employees and
partners) in terms of temperament, efficiency and effectiveness. F&B chains span the
service and manufacturing sectors; their employees are the first line that serves customers
and participates in cooperative processes with various partners. Expansions and market
entry modes adopted by F&B chains may consist of various types (e.g. direct store,
franchise store, WOS, etc.). This will lead to greater difficulty in terms of maintaining
managerial efficacy and consistent quality across chain stores. A supportive and
cooperative culture leads to solidarity and internal communication, and helps F&B chains
to accelerate their internationalisation process and obtain better performance. A
hierarchical and knowledge transferring culture helps F&B chains to reduce the risk of
store expansion failure and knowledge transfer errors during firm operations and the
internationalisation process. A good organisational culture is therefore beneficial to the
market growth and internationalisation of F&B chains.
In spite of the resource-based theory being broadly indicated by researchers in
relation to its importance on firms DOI or performance, few articles submit and integrate
detailed discussions and applications of the advantages of intangible resources on F&B
An empirical study of food and beverage chains’ internationalisation
679
chain operations. Firms may rely upon tangible resources in order to determine its
internationalisation and performance, while intangible resources may have various
degrees of influence on the actual resource control of the firm (Oparaocha, 2015). A
novel contribution of this study is the use of the resource-based theory, especially its
focus on the intangible resource advantage combined with DOI and performance, to
explain how F&B chains in Taiwan are aware of and have access to intangible resources
advantages, which establishment affects their international expansion activities and
performance. All enterprises face intangible resource advantages and disadvantages when
crossing international borders. Enterprises may wish to internalise intangible resources in
order to enhance and create firm-specific advantages. On the other hand, enterprises may
resort to strategies to monitor and advance intangible resources to limit competitive
disadvantages. Embeddedness in multinational operations creates opportunities, but also
raises challenges, particularly in terms of stressing the bandwidth of managers who must
handle increasing complexity (Meyer et al., 2011). Based on the findings of this study,
reputation, technology, and organisational culture are particularly important factors for
enterprises intangible resource cultivation, especially for F&B chains. This research
contributes to existing literature, and the findings will be useful for top management in
F&B industry to strategically enhance reputation, utilise technological advantages, and
design organisational cultures, for better performance of F&B chains internationalisation.
In addition, it could help researchers explore the specific patterns of firm
internationalisation and identify intangible resource areas that require additional theory
or empirical evidence. Finally, this research contributes to the increasing literature of the
interactions between intangible resource advantages and performance parameters.
Advance literature regarding the intangible resource theory documents the positive
association between intangible resource advantages (especially focuses on the
components of corporations’ reputation, technology, and organisational culture) and
firms DOI and performance.
A limitation of this research is that it is based on only 65 respondents. However,
respondents include managers or professional employees who are involved in the
decision-making and execution processes of F&B chain internationalisation. Face-to-face
interviews, telephone interviews, and confirmation of the actual industrial situation are
important for improving the quality of the responses. An additional limitation of this
study is that the measures are based on the perceptions of the respondents, and future
studies should implement more objective measures. Future research could enlarge the
sample and discussion factors (e.g. knowledge management, learning effect, country
culture, etc.), or choose other industries (e.g. food and beverage processors, retail chains,
or other industries, etc.), or add more objective items for DOI and performance
measurement in order to generalise the model proposed in this study.
Acknowledgements
The author acknowledges and is grateful for the financial support (project NSC 1002410-H-141-002-) provided by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan. The
author would also like to thank reviewers at the European Journal of International
Management for helpful comments on previous version of this paper.
680
T-Y. Shih
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Appendix: Questionnaire developed in this study: In comparison with competitors, the
practical level of a company in XXXX factor.
Branding
Br1:
In comparison with competitors, your company’s brand awareness is high
Br2:
In comparison with competitors, your company’s brand association of
products and services in the consumer’s mind is good
Br3:
In comparison with competitors, your company’s brand image in the
consumer’s mind is good
Partnership
Pr1:
In comparison with competitors, your company’s control processes of
merchandising, manufacturing and delivering are strong
Pr2:
In comparison with competitors, your company’s relationships with material
providers or suppliers are strong
Pr3:
In comparison with competitors, your company’s relationships with direct
stores, franchise stores and other distributors are strong
Product innovation
Pd1:
In comparison with competitors, your company implements innovative ideas
Pd2:
In comparison with competitors, your company understands the market
trends and customer needs necessary to develop new products and markets
Pd3:
In comparison with competitors, your company adopts high-quality
innovation technology to assist with new product development
Pd4:
In comparison with competitors, your company’s new products provide
unique features and benefits to consumers
Product/service quality
Pq1:
In comparison with competitors, the precise quality management level in
your company is good
Pq2:
In comparison with competitors, the overall quality level of your company’s
products/services is high
Pq3:
In comparison with competitors, the quality and uniqueness of the
products/services your company offers are high
IT application
Ia1:
In comparison with competitors, the distribution management processes in
terms of IT architecture that your company builds are good
Ia2:
In comparison with competitors, your company integrates overall distribution
management activities in terms of information systems
An empirical study of food and beverage chains’ internationalisation
687
Ia3:
In comparison with competitors, the integration of business processes and
information of your company is concatenated
Ia4:
In comparison with competitors, your company saves time and resources in
terms of information processes
Supportive & cooperative culture
Sc1:
In comparison with competitors, the cooperative spirit of your employees is
high
Sc2:
In comparison with competitors, your company attaches great importance to
relationships among employees
Sc3:
In comparison with competitors, your company treats employees equally
Hierarchy & knowledge transferring culture
Bc1: In comparison with competitors, your company’s status hierarchy is clearly
defined
Bc2: In comparison with competitors, the working procedures defined by your
company are clear
Bc3: In comparison with your competitors, the rules and regulations of your
company are perfectly defined
Degree of internationalisation
Do1: Judgemental attitude of your company’s DOI
Do2: Number of countries operated in by your company
Performance
Pe1:
In comparison with competitors, the satisfaction degree of internationalisation
sales growth is high
Pe2:
In comparison with competitors, the satisfaction degree of internationalisation
profit ratio is high
Pe3:
In comparison with competitors, the satisfaction degree of internationalisation
performance is high
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