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Geographical context and early internationalizing firms: towards an inter-disciplinary conceptualization

Crone, M. (2010) Geographical context and early internationalizing firms: towards an inter-disciplinary conceptualization. In: Academy of International Business (UK & Ireland chapter) Annual Conference, 2010-04-08 - 2010-04-10. (Unpublished)

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Existing studies of early internationalizing firms (aka born globals or international new ventures) have paid surprisingly little attention to the geographical context within which such firms emerge, how this context might influence their emergence and performance, or whether they are more likely to emerge in certain regional environments. Hence this paper seeks to contribute to the growing literature on international entrepreneurship by developing a preliminary conceptual model of the emergence of early internationalizing firms in geographical context. The model is developed from a three-part, interdisciplinary review of relevant literature. It seeks to build upon the resource-/knowledgebased view from the business and management literature by integrating insights from research in ‘spatial disciplines’ such as economic geography (notably work on clusters). In the model, a distinction is first made between upstream (pre start-up) and downstream (post start-up) phases. Various ways in which geographical context may influence firms’ inheritance (upstream) and acquisition (downstream) of the resources, capabilities and knowledge required for early internationalization in each of these phases are then depicted. The model complements existing conceptualizations and may provide a basis for further empirical and conceptual work on geographical aspects of the early internationalization phenomenon.