The McGill International Entrepreneurship series
Edited by Marian V. Jones and Pavlos Dimitratos
Chapter 1: Back to the Future: International Entrepreneurship in the New Economy
Léo-Paul Dana, Hamid Etemad and Richard W. Wright INTRODUCTION Understanding internationalization is no longer an option for business success; it is a prerequisite. Indeed, the success of entrepreneurs today depends largely on their ability to become globally competitive, even if they refrain from competing globally. The question then arises: How can small-scale entrepreneurs – lacking economies of scale – compete against large multinationals? One solution is for small ﬁrms to develop relationships with other ﬁrms within multi-polar networks. In this scenario, formerly independent enterprises share power and control, and cooperate voluntarily to maximize efﬁciency and proﬁts. We see this trend developing; entrepreneurs are shedding their traditional focus on independence as they discover interdependence and relationships to be more proﬁtable. The result is symbiotic management, which we deﬁne as, ‘a collaborative effort by multiple parties, each of which beneﬁts from the joint effort, such that added value is created’. In contrast to competition by the individual ﬁrm, aimed at increasing its market share and proﬁtability at the expense of competitors in a zero-sum game, symbiotic management focuses instead on enlarging the collective market size, with each involved ﬁrm beneﬁting. Symbiotic management – facilitated by the rise of the Internet – is leading to a new emphasis on multi-polarity in the world of business. Economic activity is moving away from a focus on the individual ﬁrm, toward relationships within multi-polar networks. While this may appear to be a radical departure from the usual nature and conduct of business,...
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