Evolving Concepts and Processes
- European Research in Entrepreneurship series
Edited by Odd Jarl Borch, Alain Fayolle, Paula Kyrö and Elisabet Ljunggren
Chapter 8: Mapping Internationalization Paths of Technology-based SMEs: Cases of Estonian ICT and Biotechnology Companies
8. Mapping internationalization paths of technology-based SMEs: cases of Estonian ICT and biotechnology companies* Kalev Kaarna and Tõnis Mets1 INTRODUCTION Building descriptive models of internationalization, which incorporate the accelerated internationalization of technology-based companies, has led to the convergence of different research streams. Criticism of over 30-year-old or older stage models of incremental internationalization, such as the U-model (Johanson and Vahlne, 1977) and I-model (Bilkey and Tesar, 1977), has led to the introduction of a new research field known as ‘International Entrepreneurship’ (IE) (McDougall and Oviatt, 2000). McDougall and Oviatt (2000) see convergence between International Business (IB) research and entrepreneurship research. The first stream of research has widened their area of interest from multinational corporations to SMEs. Entrepreneurship researchers, on the other hand, have started to study the cross-border activities of entrepreneurs in addition to developments in their home country. Despite the common interests, the two fields have not merged successfully and IE still lacks not only a common theoretical basis but also a common, widely accepted definition, which would broaden the scholarly field beyond start-ups and SMEs (Keupp and Gassmann 2009; Aspelund et al., 2007). In this chapter IE is defined as a dynamic process of recognizing and exploiting entrepreneurial opportunities across national borders. For semantic reasons we use a term ‘entrepreneurial internationalization’ for labelling companies that follow this process. Keupp and Gassmann (2009) concluded in their literature analysis of 179 articles, selected from 7627, that International Entrepreneurship has ‘(a) conflicting viewpoints about the entrepreneurial component of internationalization, (b)...
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