OPENING THE BLACK BOX OF INTERNATIONAL STRATEGY FORMATION: HOW HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL BECAME A MULTINATIONAL ENTERPRISE

    Published Online:https://doi.org/10.5465/amle.2020.0028

    This article addresses the question of why some business schools internationalize by establishing units abroad. We study their internationalization by examining the process that led to Harvard Business School’s first international strategy and its first foreign direct investment. The study elaborates how internationalization theories are applicable to research on the internationalization of business schools by exploring the role of environment and agency. The analysis shows that in an academic organization characterized as a loosely coupled system, individuals may influence the collective cognition in a strategy process by using new theoretical insights to conceptualize experiences and legitimize decisions. This demonstrates that agency is a multifaceted concept and its function depends on who has agency and how it is used. By exploring how a new academic discipline, international business, contributed both to the conceptualization and the legitimization of a new strategy, the study provides new insight into the process that leads to the formation of an international strategy.