Journal of International Entrepreneurship

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 12–37 | Cite as

Learning advantages of newness: A reconceptualization and contingent framework

  • Shaker A. ZahraEmail author
  • Congcong Zheng
  • Jifeng Yu


A growing body of research suggests that new ventures (companies less than 6 years old) have advantages over established firms in terms of learning when internationalizing their operations. Yet, the concept of “learning advantages of newness” appears to be at odds with some central concepts in the organizational learning literature, probably because it is grounded in several assumptions that are open to debate. In this paper, we attempt to reconcile this incongruity by identifying the underlying assumptions of this concept, reconceptualizing the notion of learning advantages of newness, and showing that these advantages are contingent on several environmental, organizational, and strategic variables.


Learning advantages of newness New venture internationalization Organizational learning Entrepreneurship 


Un corpus théorique grandissant suggère que les nouvelles entreprises (âgées de moins de six ans) ont des avantages comparativement aux grandes entreprises établies en termes d’apprentissage lorsqu’elles internationalisent leurs opérations. Jusqu’à maintenant, le concept «des avantages de la nouveauté dans le processus d’apprentissage» ne semble pas concorder avec des concepts centraux de la littérature sur l’apprentissage organisationnel, probablement parce qu’il est. fondé sur plusieurs prémisses qui sont encore débattues. Dans cet article, nous tentons de corriger cette incongruité: en identifiant les prémisses sous-jacentes de ce concept; en reconceptualisant la notion des avantages de la nouveauté dans le processus d’apprentissage; et en montrant que ces avantages sont contingents à des variables environnementales, organisationnelles et stratégiques.


Una corriente de investigación creciente sugiere que las empresas de nueva creación (menores de seis años) poseen ventajas de aprendizaje sobre las más establecidas cuando internacionalizan sus operaciones. Sin embargo, el concepto de “ventajas de aprendizaje de novedad” parece entrar en discordancia con algunos de los conceptos centrales de la literatura de aprendizaje organizativo, probablemente porque se basa en varios supuestos que están abiertos a debate. En este artículo, tratamos de reconciliar esta incongruencia, de la siguiente manera: identificando los fundamentos subyacentes en este concepto; revisando conceptualmente la noción de ventajas de aprendizaje de novedad; y mostrando que estas ventajas son contingentes a determinadas variables del entorno, organizativas, y estratégicas.

Palabras clave

Ventajas de Aprendizaje de Novedad Internacionalización de Nuevas Empresas Aprendizaje Organizativo Emprendimiento 



We thank Mike Peng, Kai-yu Hsieh, John Francis, Karen Ehrhart, Amy Randel, Lynn Shore, Martina Musteen, and Harry J. Sapienza for their comments on the earlier drafts of this paper. We acknowledge the contributions of R. Isil Yavuz to the earlier drafts of this paper, an earlier version of which was presented in the Academy of International Business Annual Conference. Congcong Zheng acknowledges a grant from the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center of San Diego State University, which has made this research possible.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Strategic Management & Organization, Carlson School of ManagementUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Management, College of Business AdministrationSan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Management, College of Business AdministrationUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA

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