Journal of International Entrepreneurship

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 454–473 | Cite as

Organisational barriers to nascent born-global growth: Learning from the inside

  • María-Ángeles Rastrollo-HorrilloEmail author
  • Julia Martín-Armario


Current literature has examined the main drivers of born globals (BGs) growth during their life cycle, highlighting the importance of entrepreneurial capabilities and suggesting that organisational capabilities (e.g. innovation, market orientation) are relevant for the sustainability of BGs after a certain ‘turning point’. However, two important gaps remain: the literature does not clearly delineate the processes through which BGs develop these organisational resources, and it ignores the key role of employees in those processes. Through an action-research case study of a young BG in which all employees participate in the co-creation of internal knowledge, we identify organisational dysfunctions during the early phase that obstructed the firm’s development. Our findings reveal that the lack of information on the internal functioning and socio-economic performance of the firm was a fundamental barrier not only to the development of a more participative style of management but also to the formalisation and adjustment of the organisational structure to take advantage of the opportunities of foreign markets. We propose that BG entrepreneurs need to adopt an internal strategic orientation to develop a cohesive organisation and that the ‘right time’ for doing so is not after a few years but immediately from inception.


Born globals Organisational barriers Growth Socio-economic approach to management—SEAM Internal orientation 


La literatura existente ha analizado las claves que explican el desarrollo de las “born globals (BGs)” a lo largo de su ciclo de vida, resaltando la importancia de las capacidades emprendedoras, y sugiriendo que las capacidades organizativas (por ejemplo, innovación, orientación al mercado) son relevantes para la sostenibilidad de la BG después de un cierto tiempo. Pero permanecen dos lagunas importantes: la literatura no explica claramente los procesos a través de los cuales las BGs desarrollan estos recursos organizativos, e ignora el importante rol que desempeñan los empelados en esos procesos. A través de un caso de estudio en una reciente BG usando la metodología de acción-investigación, en la que todos los empleados han participado en la co-creación de conocimiento interno, identificamos disfunciones organizativas durante la primera fase del ciclo de vida de la BG que obstruyen su desarrollo. Los resultados revelan que la falta de información sobre el funcionamiento interno y sobre el desempeño económico de la empresa, eran una barrera fundamental, no sólo para el desarrollo de un estilo de management más participativo, sino también para la formalización y ajuste de la estructura organizativa que permitiera aprovechar las oportunidades de mercados exteriores. Proponemos que los emprendedores necesitan adoptar una orientación interna para desarrollar una organización cohesionada y que el “tiempo adecuado” para hacerlo no es después de unos años, sino desde la creación de la empresa.

Palabras clave

Born globals Barreras organizativas Crecimiento Enfoque Socio-Económico de Management Orientación interna 

JEL classification

M13 M16 



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and Business ManagementUniversity of MálagaMálagaSpain

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