Edited by Léo-Paul Dana
Chapter 8: Internationalization: Motive and Process
A. Bakr Ibrahim The recent growth of international business activities by entrepreneurial ﬁrms has been phenomenal. The early internationalization of relatively new entrepreneurial ventures has received considerable attention in the literature (Zahra et al., 2000; McDougall and Oviatt, 2000; Hitt et al., 2001; Ibrahim and McGuire, 2001). Indeed international activity is a key element of entrepreneurship. Research studies suggest that, as part of the entrepreneurial process, most entrepreneurs perceive international opportunities from the ﬁrst day they start their business (Zacharakis, 1997; Oviatt and McDougall, 1994). The entrepreneurial process includes identifying and assessing the opportunity and marshalling the resources to exploit it (Ibrahim and Ellis, 2002). In other words, entrepreneurs are opportunity-driven regardless of the location – be it domestic or international opportunity. Entrepreneurs’ personality traits and backgrounds drive them to scan the environment (local or international) looking for market opportunities. McDougall and Oviatt (2000) deﬁne international entrepreneurship as ‘the combination of innovative, proactive, and risk-seeking behavior that crosses national borders and is intended to create value in organizations’. Despite the growing interest of international entrepreneurship, most research studies in international business tend to focus on large multinational enterprises (MNEs) as the traditional unit of analysis (Brush, 1995; Coviello and McAuley, 1999; Oviatt and McDougall, 2000; Ibrahim and McGuire, 2001). While the theoretical contributions oﬀered in the international literature have added much to our understanding of the internationalization motive and process in the context of large organizations, most of these frameworks have proved to be too limited to explain the...
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