Edited by Marian V. Jones and Pavlos Dimitratos
Chapter 3: Conceptual and Methodological Underpinnings in the Study of Rapid Internationalizers
Leila Hurmerinta-Peltomäki INTRODUCTION Existing Research on Rapid Internationalizers ‘Accelerated internationalization’ refers to the phenomenon of ﬁrms engaging in international business activities earlier in their organizational life cycles than they have done historically (Shrader et al., 2000). The very ﬁrst research on the rapidity of internationalization was based on implicit observations that formed part of larger studies (for instance, Luostarinen, 1979; Christensen, 1988). The unusual behaviour of young ﬁrms in their internationalization was also registered in a couple of press articles in the late 1980s, when the term ‘global start-up’ was introduced by Mamis (1989). These ‘oddities’ were reported as exceptional cases in the form of historical description and analysis. During the early 1990s, academics also discovered the subject; the early start of exporting was referred to, but not really emphasized, in a few studies (for example Lehtimäki, 1992). The phenomena of ‘a shortened time lag in export’ and ‘deviations from mainstream behaviour’ were referred to. It was only during the 1990s that researchers’ interest was truly awakened to the study of these issues (for example Lindqvist, 1991; Bell, 1995; Brush, 1995; Oesterle, 1997; Jones, 1999), following their realization that the number of young ﬁrms experiencing rapid internationalization appeared to be increasing, and that the traditional internationalization theories and models did not fully explain this kind of behaviour. These observations soon led to studies aiming at identifying and characterizing the ﬁrms behind the phenomenon: what are they, and why do they act in the way they do? 64 Conceptual...
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