- The McGill International Entrepreneurship series
Edited by Marian V. Jones and Pavlos Dimitratos
Chapter 9: The Internet and the Internationalization of Small Knowledge-intensive Firms: A Conceptual Approach
9. The Internet and the internationalization of small knowledge-intensive ﬁrms: a conceptual approach* Shameen Prashantham and Maureen Berry INTRODUCTION There is growing interest in the internationalization of small knowledgeintensive ﬁrms (SKIFs), particularly with respect to their often rapid internationalization and the role played by network relationships. The research question that this chapter seeks to answer is: what is the potential impact of the Internet on the internationalization of SKIFs? Berry et al. (2001) have drawn attention to the apparent tension among themes such as ‘global strategy’, ‘multinational enterprise’ and ‘Born Globals’ in the literature. It may be argued that this has arisen from the dominance of the study of large multinational ﬁrms in international business theory (Oviatt and McDougall, 1994). However, it appears that more recently there has been growing interest in the internationalization of small ﬁrms. A speciﬁc subset of this interest has emerged in relation to those small ﬁrms that have exhibited accelerated internationalization (Young, 1987; Shrader et al., 2000), in contradiction to prevalent notions of incremental and gradual internationalization. This phenomenon has been noticeable in SKIFs (Bell, 1995; Crick and Jones, 2000). Given this propensity to internationalize at a rapid rate and early on in their lives, it seems fair to suggest that SKIFs lend themselves readily to enquiry in the realm of international entrepreneurship, going by McDougall and Oviatt’s (2000) deﬁnition of international entrepreneurship as ‘a combination of innovative, proactive, and risk-seeking behaviour that crosses national borders and is intended to create value in...
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