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Edited by Mika Gabrielsson and V. H. Manek Kirpalani
Olli Kuivalainen and Sami Saarenketo* INTRODUCTION Over the past few decades, internationalization of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has attracted increasing attention in the international business literature. This is due to advances in communication, information, transportation technologies, a shift toward market economies, privatization and deregulation in emerging markets, the emergence of the global consumer, the availability of transnational media, and the proliferation of global products (Yip 1995). In addition, SMEs are able to grasp the opportunities of an almost borderless marketplace. For this reason, the traditional internationalization models (for example, Johanson and Vahlne 1977, 1990), have been questioned and ‘newer approaches’ have been offered. The emergence of, or at least a sudden increase in, born global (BG) companies is clearly a response to these rising opportunities as more and more companies are taking the step towards global markets earlier and more rapidly than similar companies did before. Despite the importance and prevalence of BGs in most economies, scholarly research on BGs is still in its nascent stage. Although relevant research can be found in the drivers and outcomes of this phenomenon, there is a lack of an integrative framework that can help to understand the pathways that these companies typically follow in their internationalization. Furthermore, there are no established widely accepted measures to study international pathways of SMEs in a longitudinal setting (Rasmussen and Madsen 2002). These gaps in the literature limit our understanding of the internationalization behavior and process of BGs, that is, what are the various international pathways...
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