Journal of International Business Studies

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 284–303 | Cite as

Internationalisation: conceptualising an entrepreneurial process of behaviour in time

  • Marian V Jones
  • Nicole E Coviello


This paper presents a three-stage process of conceptual development in response to the call for a unifying direction for research in the emergent field of international entrepreneurship. Drawing on classic approaches to internationalisation, and importing insight from entrepreneurship as a separate and distinct field of study, the paper develops three potential models of internationalisation as a time-based process of entrepreneurial behaviour. The models evolve from the simple through general to precise levels of conceptualisation. Research implications are discussed.


international entrepreneurship entrepreneurship internationalisation time international new venture born global innovation 



We thank Michael Mayer, Ben Oviatt, two JIBS reviewers and Arie Lewin, JIBS Editor-in-Chief, for their comments on this work. We are also grateful to conference participants at the Third Biennial McGill Conference on International Entrepreneurship and the 2002 Conference of the Australia–New Zealand International Business Academy.


  1. Aaby, N.E. and Slater, S.F. (1989) ‘Management influences on export performance: a review of the empirical literature 1978–1988’, International Marketing Review 6 (4): 7–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ancona, D.G., Goodman, P.S., Lawrence, B.S. and Tushman, M.L. (2001) ‘Time: a new research lens’, Academy of Management Review 26 (4): 645–664.Google Scholar
  3. Andersen, O. (1993) ‘On the internationalization process of firms: a critical analysis’, Journal of International Business Studies 24 (2): 33–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Andersen, O. (1997) ‘Internationalization and market entry mode: a review of theories and conceptual frameworks’, Management International Review 37 (2): 7–42.Google Scholar
  5. Anderson, E. and Gatignon, H. (1986) ‘Modes of foreign entry: a transaction cost analysis and proposition’, Journal of International Business Studies 17 (3): 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Arenius, P.M. (2002) Creation of Firm-Level Social Capital, Its Exploitation, and the Process of Early Internationalization, Helsinki University of Technology: Helsinki.Google Scholar
  7. Athanassiou, N. and Nigh, D. (2000) ‘Internationalization, tacit knowledge and the top management teams of MNCs’, Journal of International Business Studies 31 (3): 471–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Autio, E., Sapienza, H.J. and Almeida, J.G. (2000) ‘Effects of age at entry, knowledge intensity and imitability on international growth’, Academy of Management Journal 43 (5): 909–924.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Becherer, R.C. and Maurer, J.G. (1997) ‘The moderating effect of environmental variables on the entrepreneurial and marketing orientation of entrepreneur-led firms’, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 22 (1): 47–58.Google Scholar
  10. Bell, J., McNaughton, R., Young, S. and Crick, D. (2003) ‘Towards an integrative model of small firm internationalisation’, Journal of International Entrepreneurship 1 (4): 339–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Benito, G.R.G. and Gripsrud, G. (1992) ‘The Expansion of foreign direct investments: discrete rational location choices or a cultural learning process? Journal of International Business Studies 23 (3): 461–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Birley, S. (1985) ‘The role of networks in the entrepreneurial process’, Journal of Business Venturing 1: 107–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bloodgood, J.M., Sapienza, H.J. and Almeida, J.G. (1996) ‘The Internationalization of new high-potential US ventures: antecedents and outcomes’, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 20 (4): 61–76.Google Scholar
  14. Boter, H. and Holmquist, C. (1996) ‘Industry characteristics and internationalization processes in small firms’, Journal of Business Venturing 11: 471–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Brazeal, D.V. and Herbert, T.T. (1999) ‘The genesis of entrepreneurship’, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 23 (3): 29–45.Google Scholar
  16. Brush, C.G. and Vanderwerf, P.A. (1992) ‘A comparison of methods and sources for obtaining estimates of new venture performance’, Journal of Business Venturing 7 (2): 157–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Buckley, P.J. (2002) ‘Is the international business research agenda running out of steam? Journal of International Business Studies 33 (2): 365–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Buckley, P.J. and Casson, M. (1985) The Economic Theory of the Multinational Enterprise, Macmillan: London.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Buckley, P.J. and Chapman, M. (1996) ‘Theory and method in international business research’, International Business Review 5 (3): 233–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Calof, J.C. and Beamish, P. (1995) ‘Adapting to foreign markets: explaining internationalization’, International Business Review 4 (2): 115–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Carlson, S. (1974) ‘International transmission of information and the business firm’, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 412: 55–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Casson, M. (2000) The Economics of International Business, Edward Elgar: Cheltenham.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Cavusgil, S.T. (1984) ‘Differences among exporting firms based on their degree of internationalization’, Journal of Business Research 12: 195–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Chandler, G.N. and Hanks, S.H. (1994) ‘Founder competence, the environment, and venture performance’, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 18 (3): 77–89.Google Scholar
  25. Chell, E. (2001) Entrepreneurship: Globalisation, Innovation and Development, Thomson Learning: London.Google Scholar
  26. Chrisman, J.J., Bauerschmidt, A. and Hofer, C.W. (1999) ‘The determinants of new venture performance’, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 22 (1): 5–29.Google Scholar
  27. Cooper, A.C. (1993) ‘Challenges in predicting new firm performance’, Journal of Business Venturing 8 (3): 241–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Cooper, A.C., Gimeno-Gascon, F.J. and Woo, C.Y. (1994) ‘Initial human and financial capital predictors of new venture performance’, Journal of Business Venturing 9 (5): 371–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Coviello, N.E. and Jones, M.V. (2004) ‘Methodological issues in international entrepreneurship research’, Journal of Business Venturing 19 (4): 485–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Coviello, N.E. and McAuley, A. (1999) ‘Internationalisation and the smaller firm: a review of contemporary empirical research’, Management International Review 39 (3): 223–256.Google Scholar
  31. Coviello, N.E. and Munro, H.J. (1995) ‘Growing the entrepreneurial firm: networking for international market development’, European Journal of Marketing 29 (7): 49–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Coviello, N.E. and Munro, H.J. (1997) ‘Network relationships and the internationalisation process of small software firms’, International Business Review 6 (4): 361–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Covin, J.G. and Slevin, D.P. (1989) ‘Strategic management of small firms in hostile and benign environments’, Strategic Management Journal 10 (1): 75–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Covin, J.G. and Slevin, D.P. (1990) ‘New venture strategic posture, structure and performance: an industry life cycle analysis’, Journal of Business Venturing 5 (2): 123–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Covin, J.G. and Slevin, D.P. (1991) ‘A conceptual model of entrepreneurship as firm behavior’, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 16 (1): 7–25.Google Scholar
  36. Dana, L.P., Etemad, H. and Wright, R.W. (1999) ‘Theoretical Foundations of International Entrepreneurship’, in R.W. Wright (ed.) Research in Global Strategic Management, vol. 7. JAI Press: Stamford, CT, pp. 3–22.Google Scholar
  37. Eisenhardt, K.M. and Martin, J.A. (2000) ‘Dynamic capabilities: what are they? Strategic Management Journal 21: 1105–1121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ekeledo, I. and Sivakumar, K. (1998) ‘Foreign market entry mode choice of service firms: a contingency perspective’, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 26 (4): 274–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ellis, P. (2000) ‘Social ties and foreign market entry’, Journal of International Business Studies 31 (3): 443–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Erramilli, M.K. (1989) ‘Entry mode choice in service industries’, International Marketing Review 7 (5): 50–62.Google Scholar
  41. Greene, P.G. and Brown, T.E. (1997) ‘Resource needs and the dynamic capitalism typology’, Journal of Business Venturing 12 (3): 161–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Harvey, M., Griffith, D. and Novicevic, M. (2000) ‘Development of timescapes to effectively manage global interorganizational relational communications’, European Management Journal 18 (6): 646–662.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Hill, C.W.L., Hwang, P. and Kim, W.C. (1990) ‘Global strategy and multinationals’ entry mode choice’, Journal of International Business Studies 23 (1): 29–54.Google Scholar
  44. Hock, D. (1999) Birth of the Chaordic Age, Berett-Koehler: San Francisco.Google Scholar
  45. Hurmerinta-Peltomäki, L. (2003) ‘Time and internationalisation: theoretical challenges set by rapid internationalisation’, Journal of International Entrepreneurship 1 (2): 217–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Ibeh, K. (2003) ‘Toward a contingency framework of export entrepreneurship: conceptualizations and empirical evidence’, Small Business Economics 20 (1): 49–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Jarillo, J.C. (1989) ‘Entrepreneurship and growth: the strategic use of external resources’, Journal of Business Venturing 4: 133–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Johanson, J. and Mattsson, L.-G. (1988) ‘Internationalisation in Industrial Systems: A Network Approach’, in P.J. Buckley and P. Ghauri (eds.) The Internationalization of the Firm: A Reader, Academic Press: London, pp. 303–321.Google Scholar
  49. Johanson, J. and Vahlne, J.-E. (1977) ‘The internationalization process of the firm: a model of knowledge development and increasing foreign commitment’, Journal of International Business Studies 8: 23–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Johanson, J. and Vahlne, J.-E. (1990) ‘The mechanism of internationalisation’, International Marketing Review 7 (4): 11–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Johanson, J. and Vahlne, J.-E. (2003) ‘Business relationship learning and commitment in the internationalisation process’, Journal of International Entrepreneurship 1 (1): 83–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Johanson, J. and Wiedersheim-Paul, F. (1975) ‘The internationalisation of the firm: four Swedish case studies’, Journal of Management Studies 12 (3): 305–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Jolly, V.K., Alahuta, M. and Jeannet, J.-P. (1992) ‘Challenging the incumbents: how high technology start-ups compete globally’, Journal of Strategic Change 1: 71–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Jones, M.V. (1999) ‘The internationalization of small high technology firms’, Journal of International Marketing 7 (4): 15–41.Google Scholar
  55. Jones, M.V. (2001) ‘First steps in internationalisation: concepts and evidence from a sample of small high technology firms’, Journal of International Management 7 (3): 191–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Kast, F.E. and Rosenzweig, J.E. (1974) Organization and Management: A Systems Approach, McGraw-Hill: London.Google Scholar
  57. Knight, G.A. and Cavusgil, S.T. (2004) ‘Innovation, organizational capabilities, and the born-global firm’, Journal of International Business Studies 35 (2): 124–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Kogut, B. and Singh, H. (1988) ‘The effect of national culture on the choice of entry mode’, Journal of International Business Studies 19 (3): 411–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Kuemmerle, W. (2002) ‘Home base and knowledge management in international ventures’, Journal of Business Venturing 17: 99–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Kundu, S.K. and Katz, J.H. (2003) ‘Born international SMEs: bi-level impacts of resources and intentions’, Small Business Economics 20 (1): 25–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Kutschker, M., Baurle, I. and Schmid, S. (1997) ‘International evolution, international episodes, and international epochs: implications for managing internationalization’, Management International Review 37 (Special Issue 2): 101–124.Google Scholar
  62. Leonidou, L.C., Katsikeas, C.S. and Piercy, N.F. (1998) ‘Identifying managerial influences on exporting: past research and future directions’, Journal of International Marketing 6 (2): 74–102.Google Scholar
  63. Lu, J.W. and Beamish, P.W. (2001) ‘The internationalization and performance of SMEs’, Strategic Management Journal 22 (6/7): 565–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Lumpkin, G.T. and Dess, G.G. (1996) ‘Clarifying the entrepreneurial orientation construct and linking it to performance’, Academy of Management Review 21 (1): 135–172.Google Scholar
  65. Luostarinen, R. (1980) The Internationalization of the Firm, Helsinki School of Economics: Helsinki.Google Scholar
  66. Luostarinen, R., Korhonen, H., Jokinen, J. and Pelkonen, T. (1994) Globalisation and SME, Ministry of Trade and Industry: Helsinki.Google Scholar
  67. Madsen, T.K. and Servais, P. (1997) ‘The Internationalization of born globals: an evolutionary process? International Business Review 6 (6): 561–583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. McDougall, P.P. (1989) ‘International vs domestic entrepreneurship: new venture strategic behavior and industry structure’, Journal of Business Venturing 4: 387–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. McDougall, P.P. and Oviatt, B.M. (2000) ‘International entrepreneurship: the intersection of two research paths’, Academy of Management Journal 43 (5): 902–906.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. McDougall, P.P., Shane, S. and Oviatt, B.M. (1994) ‘Explaining the formation of international new ventures: the limits of theories from international business research’, Journal of Business Venturing 9: 469–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. McNaughton, R.B. (2000) ‘Determinants of time-span to foreign market entry’, Journal of Euromarketing 9 (2): 99–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Miller, D. (1983) ‘The correlates of entrepreneurship in three types of firms’, Management Science 29: 770–791.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Morris, M.H., Kuratko, D.F. and Schindehutte, M. (2001) ‘Towards integration: understanding entrepreneurship through frameworks’, Entrepreneurship and Innovation 2 (1): 35–49.Google Scholar
  74. Ofori-Dankwa, J. and Julian, S.D. (2001) ‘Complexifying organizational theory: illustrations using time research’, Academy of Management Review 26 (3): 415–430.Google Scholar
  75. Oviatt, B.M. and McDougall, P.P. (1994) ‘Toward a theory of international new ventures’, Journal of International Business Studies 25 (1): 45–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Oviatt, B.M. and McDougall, P.P. (1997) ‘Challenges for internationalization process theory: the case of international new ventures’, Management International Review 37 (2): 85–99.Google Scholar
  77. Pan, Y. and Tse, D. (2000) ‘The hierarchical model of market entry modes’, Journal of International Business Studies 31 (4): 535–554.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Patton, M.Q. (2002) Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods, Sage: London.Google Scholar
  79. Preece, S.B., Miles, G. and Baetz, M.C. (1998) ‘Explaining the international intensity and global diversity of early-stage technology based firms’, Journal of Business Venturing 14: 259–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Rennie, M.W. (1993) ‘Global competitiveness: born global’, The McKinsey Quarterly 4: 45–52.Google Scholar
  81. Reuber, A.R. and Fischer, E. (1997) ‘The influence of the management team's international experience on internationalization behavior’, Journal of International Business Studies 28 (4): 807–825.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Reuber, A.R. and Fischer, E. (1999) ‘Understanding the consequences of founder's experience’, Journal of Small Business Management 37 (2): 30–45.Google Scholar
  83. Schumpeter, J. (1934) The Theory of Economic Development, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.Google Scholar
  84. Shane, S. and Venkataraman, S. (2000) ‘The promise of entrepreneurship as a field of research’, Academy of Management Review 25 (1): 217–226.Google Scholar
  85. Shrader, R.C., Oviatt, B.M. and McDougall, P.P. (2000) ‘How new ventures exploit trade-offs among international risk factors: lessons for the accelerated internationalization of the 21st century’, Academy of Management Journal 43 (6): 1227–1247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Stevenson, H.H. and Harmeling, S. (1990) ‘Entrepreneurial management's need for a more ‘chaotic’ theory’, Journal of Business Venturing 5 (1): 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Ucbasaran, D., Westhead, P. and Wright, M. (2001) ‘The focus of entrepreneurial research: context, process and issues’, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 25 (4): 57–80.Google Scholar
  88. Van de Ven, A.H. and Engleman, R.M. (2004) ‘Event- and outcome-driven explanations of entrepreneurship’, Journal of Business Venturing 19 (3): 343–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Weick, K.E. (1999) ‘Theory construction as disciplined reflexivity: tradeoffs in the 90s’, Academy of Management Review 24 (4): 787–806.Google Scholar
  90. Welch, L.S. and Luostarinen, R. (1988) ‘Internationalization: evolution of a concept’, Journal of General Management 14 (2): 34–55.Google Scholar
  91. Westhead, P., Wright, M. and Ucbasaran, D. (2001) ‘The internationalisation of new and small firms: a resource-based view’, Journal of Business Venturing 16: 333–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Wiklund, J. (1999) ‘The sustainability of the entrepreneurial orientation-performance relationship’, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 24 (1): 37–48.Google Scholar
  93. Wright, R.W. and Ricks, D.A. (1994) ‘Trends in international business research: twenty five years later’, Journal of International Business Studies 25 (4): 687–701.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Yeoh, P.-L. and Jeong, I. (1995) ‘Contingency relationships between export, channel structure and environment: a proposed conceptual model of export performance’, European Journal of Marketing 29 (8): 95–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Yli-Renko, H., Autio, E. and Sapienza, H.J. (2001) ‘Social capital, knowledge acquisition, and knowledge exploitation in young technology-based firms’, Strategic Management Journal 22 (6/7): 587–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Yli-Renko, H., Autio, E. and Tontti, V. (2002) ‘Social capital, knowledge and the international growth of technology-based new firms’, International Business Review 11: 279–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Young, S., Hammill, J., Wheeler, C. and Davies, J.R. (1989) International Market Entry and Development: Strategies and Management, Harvester Wheatsheaf: Hemel Hempstead.Google Scholar
  98. Zahra, S.A., Ireland, R.D. and Hitt, M.A. (2000) ‘International expansion by new venture firms: international diversity, mode of market entry, technological learning, and performance’, Academy of Management Journal 43 (5): 925–950.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Zahra, S.A., Neubaum, D.O. and Huse, M. (1997) ‘The effect of the environment on export performance among telecommunications new ventures’, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 22 (1): 25–46.Google Scholar
  100. Zahra, S.A., Nielsen, A.P. and Bogner, W.C. (1999) ‘Corporate entrepreneurs knowledge, and competence development’, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 23 (3): 169–189.Google Scholar
  101. Zander, I. (1994) The Tortoise Evolution of the Multinational Corporation: Foreign Technological Activity in Swedish Multinational Firms 1890–1990, Institute of International Business, Stockholm School of Economics: Stockholm.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Academy of International Business 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Business and Management, University of GlasgowGlasgowScotland
  2. 2.Department of MarketingUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations