Publication Date

February 1998


There is a considerable amount of research suggesting that “being international” is better. While that may be the case, the assumption remains tenuous at best, and research that considers organizational size provides results contesting this assumption. In particular, we explore the effect of having international sales and operations on both long and short-term performance of initial public offering (IPO) firms. We also explore the “size” phenomenon evident in prior research that suggests smaller firms seem to perform better when they are international than do medium size firms. By applying work from the field of human resource management, we suggest that the ‘size’ phenomenon may be related to the level of structural cohesion in the organization. Our longitudinal study supports the hypothesis that international companies with higher levels of structural cohesion are more successful.


Suggested Citation
Welbourne, T. M. & De Cieri, H. L. (1998). When big isn’t better: Why smaller international initial public offering firms seem to win (CAHRS Working Paper #98-03). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.