Edited by Marian V Jones, Colin Wheeler and Pavlos Dimitratos
Chapter 14: A Model of Decision-making Processes in Internationalized Life Science Firms
Pavlos Dimitratos, Marian V. Jones and Colin Wheeler INTRODUCTION McDougall’s seminal article (1989) was one of the first studies to introduce the notion of international new ventures: namely, those (small) firms that enter the international marketplace from inception. Since then, numerous studies have attempted to explain the success of these firms, whose development has challenged the classical models of internationalization (for recent literature reviews, see Coombs, Sadrieh and Annavarjula (2009), and Keupp and Gassmann (2009)). Much of this research has centred on the international activities of firms in life science industries. According to Sprigings (2002), these are primarily firms in biotechnology which comprise related technologies and products, namely medical devices including associated equipment, instruments, consumables and the like; and laboratory products comprising linked labware and diagnostics. An aspect of interest in international entrepreneurship that has largely escaped research attention has been the international decision-making processes that international new ventures go through. Management in small firms stands out as a key driver behind the success of the internationalized small enterprise (McDougall and Oviatt, 1996; Reuber and Fisher, 1997). However, researchers posit that the decision of small firms to enter the international marketplace is likely to be unplanned or even irrational (Bonaccorsi, 1992; Dichtl et al., 1984). This line of thought is consistent with that of Aharoni (1966), who noted that the decision of the firm to go abroad can follow subjective judgements of managers who respond to objective contextual stimuli. Aharoni additionally viewed the internationalization process as potentially encompassing random aspects....
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