Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Professor Oana Branzei

2nd Supervisor

Professor Jean-Louis Schaan

Joint Supervisor


This dissertation re-conceptualizes the exit phenomenon in management research by focusing on what precedes exit in times of political and economic turbulence, when firms and entrepreneurs are forced to contemplate unwanted exit as they face multiple threats in their home country. The three essays of this thesis collectively highlight the inadequacy of theories that conceptualize exit as a sudden and complete cessation of activity by showing that exit is an adaptive process that unfolds over time, and across parts of given entities.

The first essay contributes to the literature on entrepreneurial exit by exploring how entrepreneurs proactively respond to political and economic turmoil at home that threatens the continuation of their ventures. Relying on the accounts of 27 entrepreneurs, the study inductively reveals two adaptation mechanisms—temporal and partial—that revise the entrepreneur-venture relationship in the aftermath of traumatic events.

The second essay adopts a longitudinal and comparative case analysis of 12 firms to explore how adversity at home influences firms’ internationalization paths. The study shows how firms sequentially replace resources, values, and opportunities no longer available in their home market with alternatives that they seek and find in foreign contexts. The essay contributes to the literatures on institutional arbitrage and relocation by revealing how firms identify complementary institutional contexts in international markets, and progressively transition to greener pastures.

The third essay is a systematic review of the exit literatures in strategy, international business, and entrepreneurship. The review develops a framework to organize 90 articles that have been systematically coded, and outlines relevant decisions, actions, and processes that may precede exit. The analysis highlights the partiality and temporality of exit as focal dimensions for future research and theorizing on exit in various management disciplines.