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The Influence of Entrepreneur’s background on the behaviour and development of Born Global´s Internationalization Processes
Halmstad University, School of Business and Engineering (SET), Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for Technology, Innovation and Marketing Management (CTIM2).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2610-6773
Halmstad University, School of Business and Engineering (SET), Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for Technology, Innovation and Marketing Management (CTIM2).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8194-2053
2010 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

While much of the research on small firm internationalization has concentrated on export strategies, little attention has been paid to understand the process and conditions under which the entrepreneur identify and exploit an opportunity and subsequently creating value in the newly-borned small and medium-sized firm. As a result of the above, the new research domain of International Entrepreneurship was introduced in mid 1990s and has steadily been growing in terms of number of journals, conferences and scholars associated to this field.

 

Still, we believe that the dynamics involved in the role of entrepreneurial manager during the internationalization process does remain in a black box. This gap has also been identified by several researchers within the field. In fact, in order to fill this gap Autio, Sapienza and Almeida (2000, p. 921) suggests: ”It would be useful to have case studies or other fine-grained approaches that can follow individual firms from inception through maturity to examine such issues as how internal and external conditions affect not only the timing of internationalization but the processes and outcomes of variations in choice”.

 

Although we agree with Autio, Sapienza and Almeida’s quote above we do believe an expanded approach that not start with the firms inception bit also include entrepreneurs’ experiences already from childhood will further expand the understanding of firms internationalization. Previous research (e.g. Hisrich, 1990; De Vries & Florent-Treacy, 2003; Drennan, Kennedy & Renfrow, 2005) has shown that individual’s childhood do affect the mindset of the entrepreneurs and eventually reflects their outlook on life and business. Reviewing prior research in the field of International business or International entrepreneurship one gets stroked by the fact a majority of the articles focus on the interception of the company and it´s behaviour forward, without looking at the prior story of the entrepreneur. Within the field of International business there has been attempts made to correlate various variables (i.e education, prior work experience, prior international experience etc) to the speed or success (i.e turnover, amount of foreign sales, number of markets, etc) of the company.

 

We do propose that in order to understand a company’s establishment and especially the international development and behaviour, one must look at the entrepreneur’s background as far back as possible. 

 

Following the above discussion the aim of this article is to explore the relationship between the entrepreneur’s prior life story and the development and behaviour of their Born Global firm.

 

Methodology

Six years of intense qualitative field research, including 108 personal interviews, from three entrepreneurial “Born-Globals” firms are compared and contrasted with our theoretical framework in mind. Data are retrospectively, chronologically collected staring from entrepreneur’s childhood friends until today´s employees and business partners in order to gain an understanding of the individual and his role in the organizational competence development and expansion. The method of snowball technique was used in order to identify respondents and to secure the reliability in the data received.

 

Findings

 

This study show that earlier models and theories are not enough to understand the variation of internationalization processes that different Born global firms are carrying out. For example, none of the traditional models can explain the speed or behaviour of the Internationalization. In fact, empirical evidence do suggest that a person’s childhood and prior life story does directly influence the behaviour of the entrepreneur and thus shed some light on the irregularities in speed, market choice, and modes of entry of the Born global firm.

 

This study provides evidence that the entrepreneur’s mental models are shaped already in child-hood and do not have to be created through earlier professional experience. Further, it is also shown, that internationalization per se is not a main objective for the entrepreneurs but a consequence of broader mental models including the entrepreneur’s view of life and view of business development. These mental models are changed over time, which also have consequences for the firm´s international development. We also showed that different types of entrepreneurs could be identified that developed their companies in different directions. A good understanding of the firm’s behavior and development could be reached by studying the entrepreneur’s background.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010.
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-5455OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-5455DiVA, id: diva2:345739
Conference
Thirteenth Annual McGill Conference on International Entrepreneurship Researching New Frontiers, Montreal, Canada, September 17-20
Available from: 2010-08-26 Created: 2010-08-26 Last updated: 2018-06-21Bibliographically approved

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Ghannad, NavidAndersson, Svante

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