Edited by Mika Gabrielsson and V. H. Manek Kirpalani
Chapter 1: Overview, Background and Historical Origin of Born Globals; Development of Theoretical and Empirical Research
Mika Gabrielsson and V.H. Manek Kirpalani OVERVIEW, BACKGROUND AND HISTORICAL ORIGIN OF BORN GLOBALS A new breed of company, the born global (BG) firm, has increased in importance during the last two decades. Evidence of emergence of firms that globalize rapidly since their establishment was first brought to the attention of the broader public by a report published by McKinsey & Company (1993). This research reported on Australian firms that behaved differently when compared to the domestic-based small and medium-sized firms or conventionally internationalizing firms with regard to their globalization behavior. These firms did not focus solely on domestic markets and did not internationalize slowly, but rather virtually from inception competed successfully in the global marketplace. Most importantly, these firms were found to be extremely important from the national standpoint since they constituted almost 20 percent of Australia’s high-value-added manufacturing exports (Rennie 1993). Although attention to and importance of BGs has increased lately, they have likely existed for centuries. Trading houses, such as the East India Company in the seventeenth century, the American cotton traders in the nineteenth century, and Ford Motor Company founded in 1903 are examples of firms that traded globally early on (Oviatt and McDougall 1994). In addition, Vaisala Corporation, a global market leader in meteorological forecasting systems established in 1936 in Finland, is another good example of an early BG firm (Luostarinen and Gabrielsson 2004). What is new now is that such firms have become increasingly common and important. BGs have recently emerged in several countries across...
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