Dr Denis Odlin

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Email: denis.odlin@aut.ac.nz

ORCID: ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5082-9613


Career progression in a different sequence to many academics – first industry experience, then teaching experience, academic administration, leading to PhD and research.

Industry experience initially in Australia; later held Asia-based regional and global marketing management roles in high-technology firms – 15 years living and working in Asia.

Four years as a full-time Lecturer at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Led a small teaching unit. Prior two years as visiting lecturer in Hong Kong.

After completing PhD, two and a half years as Professional Teaching Fellow at the University of Auckland Graduate School of Management, teaching professional masters courses in IB and strategy. Nine years of teaching experience in total.

Research interests:

Research focus in small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) internationalization, including “born globals”. Particular interest in competitor and institutional influences on firm- and industry-level change.

My research programme has two main themes – niche strategies (the typical competitive strategy of internationalizing SMEs) and global industry evolution:

Niche selection: An empirical elaboration of the institutional interconnection of business models, markets and technology suggested by Wieland, Hartmann and Vargo (2017) in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, to investigate how SMEs end up in particular niches.The paper addresses markets as complex adaptive systems shaped by institutional and competitive processes, and crosses the fields of IB, marketing and strategy.
Niche construction: Niche construction is an evolutionary concept (Odling-Smee, Laland & Feldman, 2003) that suggests that organisms actively adapt their environment to modify selection pressures. Empirical research will involve an in-depth case study of an internationalizing SME as it develops in order to understand how senior managers make sense of their environment, respond and seek to adapt their environment (as distinct from adapting their firms to fit the environment) to construct a firm niche. This research, building from evolutionary theories, is across the fields of IB, marketing and strategy.
International industry evolution: Involves identifying an industry segment in its emergent stages, then tracking the industry development longitudinally across several countries to either growth or failure. An element of this work is understanding whether the rapidly internationalizing SMEs are the organizations in an emerging industry that co-create the institutional logics of global industries. If this is the case, internationalizing SMEs may be as important for creating the industry rules that large firms later follow as their technical innovations. This research is in the field of international business and strategy.
Two further papers are in process about the pedagogy (teaching philosophies and techniques) for masters level internships and research projects.

Teaching summary:

International business (Managing Global Business INTB861)
Strategic management (Strategic Management MGMT806; Strategy and Performance INTB866)
Applied Global Business Projects (INTB996)

Fields of research:

  • International Business
  • Small Business Management

Professional activities:

Appointment, affiliation, and membership

  • Fellow, Higher Education Academy (2010 - ongoing)
  • Member, Academy of Management (2010 - ongoing)
  • Member, Academy of International Business (2010 - ongoing)

Award, prize, fellowship, and scholarship

  • Best Reviewer International SMEs track, Australia and New Zealand International Business Academy (ANZIBA) Conference (2014)
  • Doctoral Scholarship, University of Auckland (2013 - 2016)

Editorship, reviewing, examining, and judging

  • Reviewer, AIB 2019 Annual Conference, June 23-27, Copenhagen, Denmark. (2019)

Research outputs:

Journal articles

  • Odlin, D. (2019). Domestic competitor influence on internationalizing SMEs as an industry evolves. Journal of World Business, 54(2), 119-136. doi:10.1016/j.jwb.2018.12.003

  • Odlin, D., & Benson-Rea, M. (2017). Competing on the edge: Implications of network position for internationalizing small- and medium-sized enterprises. International Business Review, 26(4), 736-748. doi:10.1016/j.ibusrev.2017.01.003


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