A real options model of market entry: Endogenous uncertainty and exogenous uncertainty

Joshua B. Sears

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We develop a real options model of market entry that focuses on the dueling growth and deferral options by differentiating between endogenous uncertainty and exogenous uncertainty. While exogenous uncertainty influences the growth option market value or price, it is endogenous uncertainty that influences the value of the growth option through the ability to create a competitive advantage from preemptive market entry. First, the firm can decrease the exercise price of the growth option (i.e., the cost of the follow-on investment)through experiential learning that reduces endogenous uncertainty. Second, the firm can increase the relative discounted cash flows of the follow-on investment due to its ability to influence market demand that reduces endogenous uncertainty. On the other hand, the value of the deferral option increases with exogenous uncertainty as firms cannot influence exogenous uncertainty, and therefore, should invest elsewhere while waiting for the exogenous uncertainty to subside. As such, we provide a solution to the conundrum that the value of both the growth option and the deferral option increase with uncertainty. Finally, we demonstrate how the model addresses sequential market entry; irreversibility and market entry mode; competition; scarce strategic resources; host country development level; and industry life cycle stage.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of International Management
StateAccepted/In press - 2019


  • Endogenous uncertainty
  • Exogenous uncertainty
  • Internationalization
  • Market entry
  • Real options


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