World Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurship
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World Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurship

Edited by Léo-Paul Dana

This comprehensive reference work, written by some of the most eminent academics in the field, contains entries on numerous aspects of entrepreneurship.
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Chapter 31: International Entrepreneurship

Benjamin M. Oviatt, Vladislav R. Maksimov and Patricia P. McDougall


Benjamin M. Oviatt, Vladislav R. Maksimov and Patricia P. McDougall DEFINITION As its name suggests, international entrepreneurship combines international business and entrepreneurial behaviour. The international aspect of the phenomenon refers to the process of internationalization of firms as well as to the differences in firm behaviour based on national origin, while the entrepreneurial aspect refers to the act of tapping into new organizational opportunities. Oviatt and McDougall (2005: 540) offer the following formal definition: ‘International entrepreneurship is the discovery, enactment, evaluation, and exploitation of opportunities – across national borders – to create future goods and services.’ The processes of discovery, enactment, evaluation and exploitation of opportunities are specific acts of a broader process that is commonly referred to as taking advantage of opportunities. Although general and simplified, the latter term is more practical and easily grasped in general discussions. At an intuitive level, taking advantage of opportunities could be equated to the act of exploitation. However, it is clear that opportunities have to first emerge and then be evaluated in order to be exploited. Opportunities can emerge either through an act of discovery or through enactment. Discovery is present when entrepreneurs find information about a potential business opportunity which is also readily available to others. Enactment is present when entrepreneurs create a business opportunity through a unique interaction with other people, sources of information, available knowledge through prior experiences, motivation to search for innovations, and other factors of their social environment. The above definition of international entrepreneurship also allows for comparative studies...

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