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In this contribution, we systematically review the academic literature on foreignness in the context of exporter-importer social relationships published between 1997–2016. We consolidate the scholarship, analyze the nature of the phenomenon, its operationalization and measurement, and contribute to the resolution of the problems that affect this field of study. We find that the literature on foreignness in export and import relationships is relatively scarce and dispersed, lacks theoretical guidance and suffers from a low confirmation rate of the hypotheses. We contend that many problems stem from the inadequate conceptualizations of the phenomenon, the rationales underlying operationalization and the measures employed. The later includes various forms of measure objectivization, the managerial relevance of the indicators, the unit of analysis used, and the misspecification of the measurement instruments. We analyze these issues, seek solutions, and we conclude that future efforts will need to address these neglected areas of research as much as offer actionable recommendations for export/import managers.
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- Foreignness in Export and Import Social Relationships: The Liability of Psychic Distance
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