Similar to the Spring issue of the Journal, the release of this issue coincides with the ongoing coronavirus 19 pandemic, which exposed humanity to new realities that require re-thinking of the traditional and past routine practices. Nearly everyone has encountered unprecedented uncertainties of various kinds (e.g. Akerlof 1970; Knight 1921). The pandemic exposed the world to challenges never experienced before. Different countries and firms were exposed to different levels of crises and smaller firms, especially internationalized SMEs (iSMEs), were no exceptions. As in the Spring issue (See Etemad 2020a, accessible at https://doi.org/10.1007/s10843-020-00279-z), this issue of the journal views the current occasion facing us as an opportunity to expand beyond the coverage of the four articles contained in this issue.
It is noteworthy that the next four articles included in this issue were not invited, nor received any special considerations. They were regularly accepted and published in the Journal’s “On-line First” feature and have been available on-line through the Journal’s website (see, e.g. https://link.springer.com/journal/10843/online-first). They are included in this issue as they have discussed concepts, contents, contexts and issues that offer opportunities for further examination and extensions to encourage interested scholars to investigate related issues and further explore them in order to assist iSMEs with alternatives strategies for meeting challenges facing them. The highlights of the four articles that follow are presented in the next section of this article. They offer promising argument and plausible pathways based on their scholarly research relevant to an emerging, or unfolding, major challenge or crisis, including the ongoing and further unfolding COVID-19 Pandemic crisis.
Structurally, this article comprises five parts. Following this brief Introduction, a developmental discussion for extending certain concepts, construct and structures with propensity to broaden, re-conceive differently, re-define and enhance their power is prestented to effectively assisting us to deal with the added complexity of challenges caused by the recent changes and rapid evolution of the environment. That discussion appears in part II. A brief highlight of each of the next four articles appearing in this issue, and their inter-relationships, will be presented in part III. Part IV provides a discussion and presents the broad implications related to the expansive theme of this article. Conclusion and the need for reflective strategies for dealing with the currently unfolding crisis, and preparation for the potential future crises, regardless of their magnitude, will appear at the end.
International entrepreneurship inherited its basic theoretical foundations and principles from its constituent parental disciplines, International Business and Entrepreneurship, each of which were based on their own respective parents, Behavioural Economics, Microeconomic and the theory of the firm, International Economics, respectively. Nearly all of the above fields relied more on objective principles and less on varied personal and psychological behaviours. However, recent developments in entrepreneurship and family firms (e.g. Vandekerkhof et al. 2018) point to entrepreneurs whose decisions favour, if not require, optimizing across a multitude of varied objectives, using different allied field that are akin, if not closer, to typical decisions involving many influential dimensions, including socio-cultural, welfare and normative aspects, that extend much beyond the economics of the firm or microeconomic, concerned mainly with minimizing cost and maximizing growth, profits and revenues. Furthermore, the increasing complexity of the environment and the appearance of focused institutions, such as family firms, passion-driven enterprises (Cardon et al. 2009) and ethnic or socially-oriented entrepreneurial firms, including the not-for-profit institutions, social cause–driven firms or “B Corporations”,Footnote 1 amongst many others, that are using alternative decision frameworks, in turn impose intrinsic constraints on traditional approaches. Consider for example, that not-for-profit firms, which define and generate value in terms of responding to social causes and accomplishing socially desired objectives by asking their stake-holders, including beneficiaries and owners, supplier and philanthropist, to contribute funds, time and efforts to accomplish their stated objective as opposed to generating profits and distributing them to their stock-holders. Similarly, ethical and progressive “B Corporations” aim for attaining sustainability and resilience as opposed to maximizing short to medium-term economic objectives, which are achieved by adopting much farther and far wider decision horizons than the next few fiscal years or reporting periods.
In light of these evolutionary changes in the environment and entrepreneurial enterprises, the above brief discussion suggests that certain traditional concepts, constructs and frameworks need a purposeful re-examination for possible enrichment in order to make them more responsive to the increasing complexities of the current and evolving environment, for which the prevailing frameworks have proven nearly impotent. The motivating aim behind such extension or expansion and enriching is to enable them to at least hint, and possibly point, to potent alternative strategies and pathways capable of solving emerging crippling problems, which traditional strategies could not.
As stated earlier, a discussion of the COVID crisis is not the main aim of the current issue of the Journal, but it is difficult to ignore the difficult challenges it has left behind, some of which still remain unresolved. Generally, these unresolved problems are not because of firm’s absence of desire or lack of resources to resolve them, but mainly due to incapability of decision frameworks at the management disposal to point to more effective and responsive decisions and strategies capable of resolving them efficiently in a timely manner. The lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis points to severe shortage of time for decision-makers using alternative ad hoc and experimental decisions to select the most potent one,Footnote 2 which would in turn contribute to delays akin to inaction and near collapse in some firms, industries and even national economy in some cases. In contrast, a set of agile, innovative, and potent strategic decisions in entrepreneurial firms, who approached the pandemic crisis as a time-compressed opportunity, and could quickly re-define their value equation by including alternative objectives (e.g. socio-cultural aspects as opposed to economic and financial ones) in order to re-configure their value generation operations accordingly and respond to, and benefit from, their perceived opportunity rapidly. The observed end-result has been social admiration for their initiative and successful rapid response as well as consequent profitably. Expectedly, they were rewarded handsomely socially and economically as well. A brief review of three examples from different industries reflect the fruitful transformations iSMEs that re-oriented their value equation quickly to respond the COVID-19’s crippling impacts, as follows.Footnote 3
It is a highly successful and internationalized familyFootnote 4 company, which is based in the Province of Ontario, Canada. Usually, it produces and markets high-quality, high-positioned specialized winter garments and special winter equipment worldwide. It switched very quickly to respond to the critical shortage of protective personal equipment (PPE) for frontline health care workers exposed to coronavirus during the pandemic crisis in Canada. It re-configured its production facilities and opened a new factory producing personal protective equipment in response to shortages. PPEs’ supply shortages were due to non-performance of previously placed orders at foreign producers that were embargoed by their national government. In the absence of the re-orientation, re-configuration and consequent switch, Canada Goose would have been forced to close its facilities, lay-off its skilled and specialized employees and suffer from losses due to the closure of international borders and near ending of winter season for sale of high-priced winter garments for subfreezing conditions. Canada Goose not only benefitted economically handsomely but it also probably saved a lot of invaluable time and effort, if not lives, of the frontline health care workers. It also preserved the employment of its employees who would have remained unemployed for some 5 to 6 months at the least during the social locked-down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its efforts and prompt reply to socially desired needs elevated the company’s social status, if not its brand equity, to far beyond its economic value prior to the emergence and unfolding of the COVID pandemic.Footnote 5 Furthermore, it did not suffer from the economic shut down, or the closure of international borders as severely as its competitors did.
It is a Canadian sport equipment manufacturing and marketing company, which is based in the Province of Québec, Canada. It manufactures a wide and diverse range of product lines of sport equipment from bicycles to ice-skating boots. It perceived the COVID-related shortage as opportunity and realized the social value, if not social obligation,Footnote 6 associated with creating a highly protective and integrated one-piece protective “hood”, replacing a facial mask, a partial facial hood, a head cover and protective upper body garment, which were all in severe shortage, as stated earlier. Furthermore, the above four items were designed for temporary and short use and not for long shifts requiring frequent and time-consuming changes and replacements, while the one-piece hood was easy to change and re-use quickly. Similar to the above case of Canada Goose, CCM’s introduction of the integrated one-piece “hood” was received very well; the company was praised, held in a high social standing and also profited well, while its competitors had to shut down because of the society’s shutdown and cancellation of both the professional and recreational sports, as the legally required social-distancing would not allow for such sports to continue-on (for more information, see https://www.cbc.ca/sports/ccm-hockey-producing-personal-protective-equipment-1.5531037).
In spite of higher forecasted demands for alcoholic beverages during the locked-down and social isolation, a few Canadian distilleries producing hard alcoholic spirits and liquors switched quickly to produce pure and safe alcohol for the much-demanded sterilization and sanitization in general and hand and equipment sanitizers in particular. The noteworthy point is that, these distillers produced a final product (the pure alcohol), for which they previously had no distribution channels and sales outlets; thus, they were exposed to the risk of losing massively for not supplying their regular products in higher demands on the one hand and absorbing the additional costs of re-configuration of their continuous distillation processes for producing alcohol and re-adaptation back to produce their main product lines. However, responding to critical shortages of a life-saving product generated massive demand for their pure and safe alcohol demands beyond those of hospitals and health care system generated invaluable publicity for them, in addition to other benefits for distillers who responded to the social cause of (for more information, see https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/distilleries-across-canada-fight-covid-19-by-making-hand-sanitizer-1.4867110).
As an example of such quickly responding distillers, Corby Distillery added pure alcohol to its production only 4 days after the official lockdown on March 15, 2020, in Canada and increased need for alcohol as sterilizer. It donated all of its alcohol production free of charge to producers of hand sanitizers, which avoided a severe shortage.Footnote 7 Due to the positive publicity, the value of Corby Distillers’ stock increased by more than 2% in the third week of March 2020, in contrast to more than 20% declines in Canadian stock values in March 2020.
The evidence provided by the above brief demonstrative case-studies, portraying the actual corporate experience and response in the critical early days of COVID-19 pandemic crisis, confirms that the traditional views of international entrepreneurship need re-examination, adjustment and extension in order to evaluate and perceive opportunities differently and respond accordingly. Similarly, there is a need to also include socio-cultural, institutional and psychological (when necessary) dimensions as well as adopting longer and broader horizons in their respective value equation beyond short-term economic concerns.
In short, the unexpected occurrences (e.g. regional destructive earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis, COVID-19) in our collective environments, impacting the traditional routines and decision procedure requiring rapid civil response, if not an expanded strategic horizon far beyond the prevailing ordinary, inspired both the topic and the overriding theme of this article and of this issue. The scholarly content of the selected articles already published in the Journal’s “On-line First” provided a rich context to advocate for broadening the scope of international entrepreneurship by extending the focal arguments of articles earmarked for this issue.
Accordingly, the primary task of this issue is to examine, and possibly view, concepts, constructs and frameworks discussed in articles presented in this issue in different lights in order to enrich, extend and diversify their respective value equations beyond the tradition; so that they can view opportunities in a more comprehensive fashion for providing a richer entrepreneurial decision-making frameworks. Naturally, such extension and corresponding arguments will depend on their specific context, and, thus, they will be presented within the context of each article’s highlights, discussed in the next part.
Highlights of articles
As stated earlier, this Journal issue views heterogeneity across articles and dissimilarity of will view within a topic as an opportunity, on which to further capitalize. Such heterogeneity and dissimilarities can stimulate learning and reflective thoughts (Etemad 2018b, c) for expanding the various topics and establishing potential linkages that can bridge across, between and within concepts, constructs and frameworks to enrich the value creation process at low, and possibly no additional marginal costs.
The second article in this issue is entitled as “Familiness, socio-emotional goals and the internationalization of French family SMEs” and is co-authored by Sami Basly and Paul-Laurent Saunier. It sets the stage for extending our conception of traditional concepts, factors and frameworks beyond the traditional approaches based on family firm practices. Within that context, this article explores the inherent characteristics of already-internationalized French family firms and suggests that a few specific concepts based on research in family firms can be adopted in international entrepreneurship to enrich iSMEs practice in particular, and contribute to the field as a whole in general. Although the institution of family firm comes across as a clear, coherent and consistent enterprise, due mainly to its affiliation with a family, family firms can be as different, heterogeneous and as diverse as families are. Most family firms, but not all, reflect the characteristics of the family controlling them. Similar to other firms, economic objectives, such as domestic growth for higher wealth generation, may dominate, but other more socio-culturally and family-oriented objectives might also play significant roles; some of which may have emerged unintentionally over time. Reportedly, and for unclear reasons, internationalization has not been amongst the dominant growth objectives (Johanson and Vahlne 1977, 2009) and a significant portion of family firms have shied away from internationalization for sometimes, but the overall state of internationalization is not clear (e.g. De Massis et al. 2018; Tsao et al. 2018; Pukall and Calabrò 2014; Kontinen and Ojala 2010).
One of the distinct and differentiating characteristics of family firms is that they are founded by a patriarch, or a matriarch, at the outset with the primary objective of providing for the family from the beginning. Initially, this objective may have accomplished by simply buying merchandise from other firms on wholesale basis for selling them on retail basis locally, or regionally, allowing for domestic growth and avoiding the added complexities of internationalization. Alternatively, however, some family firms might have perceived opportunities in importing attractive products from other foreign firmFootnote 8 for domestic distribution and sale and growth at home. Over time, some firms would find it more advantageous to design their own products to support their own brands by outsourcing their products from reliable firms abroad with high-quality and lower costs for added competitiveness at home. Although importing and outsourcing are forms of inward internationalization (Welch and Luostarinen 1988, 1993), they may have not been perceived as such then. Research indicates (e.g. Luostarinen and Hellman 1995) that family firms use in-bound internationalization for growth at home and as a basis for outward internationalization later on, similar to most traditional SMEs (e.g. Johanson and Vahlne 1977, 2009). As early as 1988, Welch and Luostarinen (1988) observed that in-bound (or “backward”, as opposed to the traditional “forward or outward”) internationalization was a simple strategy for gaining competitiveness to enhance further growth at home and possibly building a foundation for outward internationalization later. However, it is not clear if all family firms take advantage of their domestic foundations to internationalize and scale-up through internationalization. Although research indicates that small and young family firms founded, or co-founded, by immigrants would find it advantageous to import from their original home-country from the outset to serve certain ethnic consumer segments interested in their products in their adopted host country, internationalization has not been embraced strongly by some family firms and the second article in this issue sheds light on the potential reasons.
Naturally, the initial characteristics of the family firm would depend on the founder’s aims, aspirations and entrepreneurial orientation (Lumpkin and Brigham 2011; Lumpkin and Dess 1996), even family legacies, as well as the choices of the location, and the industry, but they all evolve as the firm, its founder(s) and its top management team (TMT)—mostly family members—learn and gain experience and confidence beyond the firm’s embryonic stages at home. Etemad (2018a, b, c) suggests that the trajectory of growth, stagnation and decline, is portrayed by the firm’s life cycle (FLC). FLC portrays growth overtime based on the dynamic of forces affecting the firm’s evolutionary growth from early to maturity stages. In family firms, the commitments to the family are likely to remain strong, and possibly become dominant, as the firm grows further. However, family succession may introduce strategic change not envisioned by the founder or the earlier generation managers, in response to a wide range of opportunities enabling growth, forward internationalization, quest for higher social acceptance and higher reputation as well as further contributions to socio-cultural improvement, employment and deeper social engagements along with wealth generation, amongst others, as the firm grows richer; most of which differ from a typical publicly held firm. Logically, there is ground for either side (i.e. privately or publicly held firms) to learn from the other and adopt some of their successful practice to enrich their decision-making frameworks (recall the case of Canada Goose responding to the socio-cultural needs and benefiting from them while its competitors suffered from the COVID-19 economic shutdown). Conversely and similar to change in the CEOs and TMTs when a firm faces difficulty, family squabbles, especially inter-generational differences, may harm the firm and slow down its growth, suggesting that family’s social interaction dynamic need to be taken into account and family firms’ scholars have introduced the “Familiness” construct to reflect them. Furthermore, this article introduces another non-economic construct—the family’s socio-emotional wealth (SEW) (Le Breton-Miller and Miller 2013; Berrone et al. 2012)—and sets to explore the relationship between internationalization, in terms of export intensity, and the two family-specific constructs, which the article’s research find influential and deserve serious attention within and outside the family firms.
The third article of this issue further expands on a few topics already explored by the second article. For example, it examines how anticipated emotions, firm’s aspirations and its entrepreneurs’ re-orientation(s) affect the firm’s view and how it assesses opportunities in terms of their associated risks and uncertainties of those opportunities (Keh et al. 2002; Stewart and Roth 2001; Sitkin and Pablo 1992; Brockhaus 1980). Similar to the previous article, this article’s theoretical contribution is in examining the intersection of the firm’s (or its TMT’s) economic and non-economic, especially psychological and socio-cultural, characteristics, which can be viewed as extending socio-cultural and psychological aspects in the firm’s economics and vice versa. The article is entitled as Anticipated emotions and their effects on risk and opportunity evaluations and is co-authored by Hernan E. Riquelme and Abdulaziz Alqallaf. It suggests that entrepreneurs’ anticipated emotions about the outcome can impact the perceived view of the opportunity in terms of one’s anticipation and emotional attachments, or lack thereof, to the expected outcome(s), can not only affect the evaluation of the opportunity but also influence the assessment of risks and uncertainties associated with that opportunity—e.g. the more negative the anticipated emotions a person holds about the outcome of a business opportunity, the riskier the opportunity will be perceived (Gómez-Mejía et al. 2007; Loewenstein et al. 2001; Luce 1998). Conversely, when the entrepreneur has more positive anticipated emotions regarding the outcome of a business opportunity, the less risky the opportunity is perceived. In spite of massive studies in objectively estimating risk and uncertainty, the above article’s research document the influence of the entrepreneur’s emotions in viewing opportunities and assessing the risk-adjusted value of their outcomes, which in turn raises the question of what influences one’s emotions regarding potential opportunities. The clear implication of this article’s findings is that opportunity assessment needs to examine a combination of factors and contexts that can impact one’s perception of an opportunity, which raises another question: to what extent a typical opportunity assessment incorporates the impact of decision-makers’ prevailing emotions at the timeFootnote 9 and how should emotion be accounted for or isolated?
The study was conducted in the Persian Gulf country of Kuwait, where the authors surveyed a list of entrepreneurs from a database provided by the Kuwait’s Chamber of Commerce covering owners of ongoing SMEs and the founders of start-ups. Given the nature of the research, the authors had to adopt a scenario-based methodology to measure both the assessment of the perceived opportunity and magnitude of perceived risks associated with the opportunity. They found that “anticipated emotion” is a predictor of perceived opportunities, which also plays a mediating role in assessing risk and returns attached to the opportunity. The noteworthy point is that the research design of the above articles examines a particular aspect of entrepreneurial orientation (Lumpkin and Brigham 2011; Lumpkin and Dess 1996) in a less researched environment and suggests a pathway to extend the opportunity assessment procedures that need further enrichment by accounting for emotions and their antecedents, which reach beyond the traditional approaches. Further implication of this research is should and how resource-constrained smaller firms control for the emotional state and attachments of their decision-makers to opportunities and their associated risks?
The fourth article of this issue further expands on the research questions of the third article in a more complex entrepreneurial context beyond those in the previous two articles. It is entitled as Exploring the organizing and strategic factors of diasporic transnational entrepreneurs in Canada: An empirical study and it is co-authored by Jean-Marie Nkongolo-Bakenda and Elie V. Chrysostome. In addition to perception, or assessment, of opportunities, this paper examines both strategic and organizational aspects in entrepreneurial firms of diasporic entrepreneurs. Although the research is carried out in Canada and the focal entrepreneurs reside in Canada, they are diasporic transnational entrepreneurs (DTEs), who had emmigrated to Canada sometimes ago. The mere fact that diasporic transnational entrepreneurs have been previously embedded in another environmental context, and are currently operating in the Canadian environment, differentiates them and their firms from other entrepreneur in at least three aspects: (a) their experiential background may be richer, and possibly more complex, and thus their decision frameworks may be more complex than those of indigenous entrepreneurs; (b) they also have the foreign experiential knowledge that Johanson and Vahlne (1977, 2009) found necessary for early stages of internationalization as it facilitates, and possibly stimulates, their firms’ faster internationalization, which most indigenous entrepreneurs lack; and (c) the antecedents of viewing and assessing the outcomes of their ventures (e.g. exposure to and experience in at least two socio-cultural environments) are likely to differ, and they would possibly be more complicated, than those of the traditional entrepreneurs, as discussed in the previous articles. This paper’s findings suggest that these entrepreneurs (i.e. the DTEs) identify opportunities associated mainly with introducing the products and services of one context (e.g. previous home) into another environment (e.g. their adopted home, Canada) or vice versa (e.g. internationalizing Canadian goods and services in their country of origin or other similar international markets). Furthermore, the findings of this paper also indicate that these entrepreneurs also benefit from their multi-contexts experiential knowledge (Solano 2019) in deciding how appropriately to adapt their firms’ offering to other markets to better fulfil the needs and wants in international contexts, which can a enhance their internationalization, possibly faster and more successfully, than otherwise. In short, transnational entrepreneurs’ richer multi-context experiential learning, knowledge and background not only affect aspects of their entrepreneurial internationalization but also assists them in selecting more potent international marketing strategies for their local marketing in their associated foreign markets than others.
Furthermore, due to their initial state in their newly adopted country, DTEs’ need to rely on their family, friends and social network to assist in their early identification of opportunities (Lundberg and Rehnfors 2018) points to the important role of their social capital in their adopted country, Canada, which also complements the concept of the social emotional capital (SEW), discussed in the context of family firms in the article highlighted earlier, above. Therefore, this article is complementary to previous articles of this issue by presenting at least two enriching extension of entrepreneurial concepts—operating in a more complex and richer decision-making contexts at the intersection of the transnational entrepreneurs’ home and host country environment and also heavier early reliance on the social capital of the family, friends and social network in their adopted country and possibly those in their previous home as well.
The fifth article included in this issue sheds further light on a few extended concepts of the previous articles. This article is entitled as Passion driving entrepreneurship and lifestyle migration: insights from the lutherie of Cremona, and it is co-authored by Simone Guercini and Diego Ceccarelli. Although the entrepreneurial orientation literature (Lumpkin and Brigham 2011; Lumpkin and Dess 1996) has pointed to certain behavioural patterns, this article’s research suggests that entrepreneur’s passion (Cardon et al. 2009) affects their behaviours to the extent that it can be nearly viewed as one of antecedent of the entrepreneurs’ desire to pursue an entrepreneurial lifestyle career and make entrepreneurial decision within that perspective. It is noteworthy that entrepreneur’s passion extend and complement its psychological counterpart—e.g. emotions—and the lifestyle context relates to its corresponding discussions in the previously highlighted articles—e.g. family or the DTEs’ contexts, and in that sense, they open-up new enriching avenues for further extension of discussed concepts.
Based on a single case study of Lutherie of Carmona, Italy, such lifestyle seem to attract similarly inclined entrepreneurs that are open to forming a “passion collective” that favours a collaborative environment (as opposed to a competitive one), within which the knowledge and know-how are shared and tested repeatedly, and the superior results are preserved for further use within the passion collective, which differ from other presumed competitive environments. This research suggests that the Lutherie Sector in Italy, composed of the creative people who make string music instruments, has attracted entrepreneurs that share their expertise and the passion of making string instruments, which has given rise to the emergence of a strong sector with similar socio-cultural set of activities enhanced by networking of passionate entrepreneurs in the sector, which could be a pattern for improving upon entrepreneurial outcomes in other sectors.
In summary, the above highlights focused on a set of concepts, constructs or frameworks in international entrepreneurship explored the possibility of enriching the particular properties of their decision factors by relating them with other factors with true, or potential, influence in order to extend and further enrich their influence, meaning or the power of the focal concept in ways not traditionally applied or used. A brief discussion and implication of the above enriching processes are further discussed in the next part, below.
Discussion and broad implications
As stated earlier, international entrepreneurship was initially based on concepts, constructs and frameworks of its parent disciplines in the late 1980s and 1990s. However, not only each of those disciplines have expanded and widened, the international entrepreneurship has developed its own concept and frameworks, which have equally evolved and expanded on their own due to entrepreneurial creativities, environmental evolution and inherent characteristics pointing to alternative behaviours. As an example, consider that most of the smaller and younger internationalized enterprises were suddenly crippled by the coronavirus pandemic crisis that closed international border that made international shipping costly and nearly impossible, froze most international supply chains (both exports and imports) that in turn rendered exports and international sales operationally impractical. Stated differently, the pandemic crisis forced iSMEs to think beyond their routine and traditional practice to survive. In so doing, and as reviewed in the Introduction, many smaller enterprises prospered financially, some were also rewarded socially as people praised their contributions to mitigating the adverse impact of the COVID-19 crisis facing their customers, employees, owners and suppliers, while others suffered deeply. As reviewed earlier, the collective experience points to the sudden impotency of previous strategies, which forced the executives in successful agile and innovative enterprises to break with their past practices by thinking creatively and extending their practices, if not re-configuring their processes by deploying their resources and capabilities far beyond their traditional, and mostly very successful, practices prior to the COVID-19 crisis. Although the reviewed examples in the Introduction were Canadian cases, it is not difficult to imagine that similar re-orientation and re-strategizing occurred elsewhere. Collectively, they suggest the need and necessity of richer decision and strategic frameworks (also see Etemad 2020b) that can be based initially on extending our common concepts in directions beyond the ordinary (hence the title of this article) to respond to the extra-ordinary challenges, such as those posed by the pandemic crisis globally and not sparing many.
As stated earlier, the articles included in this issue were all based on their respective scholarly research supporting them, and all were accepted and published in the Journal’s “On-line First” option much before the COVID-19 pandemic. This article’s attempt to extend respective concepts and their consequent practices were not fashioned for the pandemic crisis, but inspired by the crisis. The highlighted article’s conceptions and research methodology extended, mostly in the socio-cultural direction, and enhanced their entrepreneurial perception, understanding and strategies for resolving their respective challenges more appropriately than otherwise.
The broad implication of both the research behind the articles included in this issue and lessons learned during the pandemic crisis points out the need for, if not the necessity of, entrepreneurial enterprise to think beyond their prevailing, and undoubtedly comfortable current approaches, operations and strategies, as the immediate future may remain as uncertain as ever before and the distant future may be even more uncertain. The promise of strategic boundary spanning by extending a firm’s decision variables and frameworks can only expose them to far wider and enriching horizons not perceived before and the possibility of pointing to potent strategic paths not envisioned in the past, which in turn justifies the aspiration of this article to encourage learning about such boundary spanning exercises for enabling the identification of brighter and promising pathways to face the uncertain challenges of near future, and possibly mitigate those inherent in the farther horizons.
As for specific implications, each of the articles included in this issue presents a rich list of implications in both in its shorter form in their respective Summary Highlights and in a much longer and well-argued form discussed at the end of each article. There is, therefore, no need for further discussion of the specific and elaborate implication presented earlier. However, the challenges of the pandemic crisis unfolding after the acceptance of each of the articles required more collective, collaborative and socially adapted view in terms of nuances of each articles’ arguments and implications.
The broad conclusions of this article are undoubtedly influenced by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic inflicting the world with a global crisis and exposing smaller and young enterprises to well-documented difficult challenges neither faced nor remotely conceived before (Etemad 2020a, b). As a direct result of this rapidly unfolding crisis, many enterprises found themselves highly exposed with no alternative strategies to reach beyond the dark and crippling difficulties facing them. Those who were agile, creative, far-sighted and flexible found opportunities in the midst of the crisis, while others tittered on the verges of disappearing beyond their fault or control, management or resources.
Aside from the gravity of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic crisis, engulfing the globe and causing difficulties for practically everyone, the world is not immune to smaller and less-engulfing crises, such as regional catastrophes and disasters that have happened before, and are likely to happen again. Consider for example, the destructive and disruptive powers of common and relatively frequent local, regional and national disasters caused by events such as earthquakes, hurricanes, ocean surges, torrential rains causing mud slides, snow and ice storms, tornados, typhoons, amongst others, that are beyond our control and temporarily, if not for much longer, cripple those in their paths. It seems that only those empowered with preventive or remedial strategies based on their prior experience, or extended thinking into previously unimagined domains, stand higher chances of recovering faster than others and possibly avoiding the events’ consequences all together (Etemad 2019). The recent example of tropical hurricane Laura that struck the US Gulf states of Louisiana and Texas at the time of this writing in late August (i.e. landing on the Gulf coasts of Louisiana and Texas States on August 27, 2020, and Arkansas later on) is instructive. Laura left wide-spread destruction in its path, and destroyed houses, uprooted trees, knocked out electrical powers for millions and left more than 15 innocent deaths behind. Although an infrequent crisis at the same time of the COVID-19, the hurricane Laura brought the pandemic’s recovery efforts in the affected areas to stand still and made the re-start much more costly and difficult for all involved, including the affected State—and Federal—Governments, but affected unprepared and unsuspecting people severely. The above brief exposition necessitates not only smaller enterprises’ need to prepare for the next crisis, regardless of the magnitude, but also the citizenry, national and local governments to prepare alternative plans and public policy for the challenges of the next crisis.
In the final analysis, the heavy burden of the required preparations falls on scholarly research. Accordingly, the Journal of International Entrepreneurship encourages individual and collective efforts to devise more potent decision frameworks and contingency plans to avoid the painful experience of the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Accordingly, the journal welcomes receiving far-sighted initiatives, plans and suggestions in the form of scholarly articles and proposals for thematic special issues.
See example of nine ethical B-Corporations at https://bthechange.com/9-b-corps-leading-in-ethical-fashion-c7c659f6c92e
At time, time pressure alone can deprive a firm of sufficient time to formulate alternative strategies and experimentation to resolve difficulties. Retrospectively, many unsuspecting, and thus unprepared, SMEs collapsed in the COVID Pandemic crisis due to lack of time to deploy strategic solutions.
In favour of full disclosure, I live in a Province of Canada that suffered from COVID pandemic heavily and the highlighted Canadian SMEs were in the news that attracted my attention and encouraged reflection on their rapidly responsive cases; but these firms were not the only ones. Many agile and innovative smaller firms re-oriented to respond the pandemic-caused emergencies as social opportunities.
The current Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian clothing company, Canada Goose Inc., is Dani Reiss is the son of company’s founding entrepreneur (for more information, see: https://investor.canadagoose.com/English/corporate-governance/default.aspx.
In the early days of the pandemic in the mid-March, 2020, the average market value of Canadian Stocks declined between 25% to 35% due to the shut down of the Canadian economy that affected “not essential items” more severely than others. For example, professional and even recreational sports were ordered shut-down to avoid further infection of the highly virulent virus due to social contacts in the community.
In the immediate aftermath of the social locked-down and consequent economic shut-down, Rick Blackshaw, CEO of CCM Hockey, in a press release stated: “We are deploying our culture of innovation and craft, which normally protects the world’s best hockey players doing battle on the ice, for a new purpose. [Now] protecting our healthcare workers on the front lines of the most important battle of our time.”
The Corby Spirit and Wine Ltd. Distillery, based in Walkerville, Ontario, Canada, has been in operation for more than 160 years. It added the pure alcohol to its production line on March 19, 2020 for producing hand sanitizer, and donated the product to contribute to health-care systems fight against the lethal COVID-19crisis at the time.
The foreign firm may have relations with firms located in the family’s origin; thus giving the family firm a competitive advantage in acquiring goods and services from there. This topic will be further discussed in the article discussing diasporic transnational enterprises later in this part.
Related to decision-makers’ emotions, the related question of who and with what state of emotions should be included in, or excluded from, opportunity assessment decisions. Furthermore, should the indirect impact of decision-makers’ context and timing should be also considered or not.
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Etemad, H. Extending international entrepreneurship’s concepts, constructs and decision frameworks to reach beyond the ordinary. J Int Entrep 18, 257–269 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10843-020-00283-3