Martin Hannibal and Tage Koed Madsen
The literatures on entrepreneurship and international business used to be separate fields and their respective researchers had little, if any, contact (Dana et al., 1999a). Together with the increasing globalization of markets and societies, however, a joint field on international entrepreneurship started to grow during the 1990s (Dana et al., 1999b). Researchers looking at the internationalization of firms used to find that firms would typically grow internationally in a slow and incremental manner, mainly by exporting their products to neighbouring countries (Johanson and Vahlne, 1977), but they now find that an increasing number of new firms initiate international activities (at first often through exporting) very early on after inception. Similarly, entrepreneurship researchers found that an increasing number of entrepreneurs have an international outlook. Dating back to seminal articles by Oviatt and McDougall (1994), Knight and Cavusgil (1996) and Madsen and Servais (1997), scholars have tried to understand the phenomenon of these international new ventures/born globals (INVs/BGs). Many scholars have examined whether these firms have specific founder characteristics, for example, whether they have a global mindset through education or experience working in foreign cultures. For instance, Acedo and Jones (2007) linked the notion of human capital to the ability of founders to identify opportunities in foreign markets, and thereby improve the performance of INVs, while Sharma and Blomstermo (2003) demonstrate how acquiring access to embedded network resources may enhance INV value creation on foreign markets. Another stream of literature looks at how founders may be able to leverage the knowledge and resources from contacts in prior work settings to speed up internationalization (for example, Young et al., 2003). Other scholars have placed emphasis on changing market conditions and industry structure which are conducive to spurring internationalization. These areas of focus are demonstrated in an early review by Rialp et al. (2005) as well as in later reviews by Keupp and Gassmann (2009) and Cesinger et al. (2012).
Ann Elida Eide and Tage Koed Madsen
The purpose of this chapter is to explore how top management team (TMT) size, diversity and experience are associated with strategic orientations and internationalization in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and thus to provide additional insight concerning upper echelon issues in such firms. Specifically, we will look closer at the strategic consequences of size, diversity and experience of TMTs. An empirical study among Norwegian exporting SMEs indicates that international growth expectations as well as strategic orientations (growth, learning, international) are significantly higher in firms in which top management teams are larger, more diverse and more experienced. Such firms also reach out to more markets internationally and perform better. TMT size and composition seems to be important not only for international new ventures, but also for more established SME exporters.