Two Decades of International Entrepreneurship Research: What Have We Learned Where Do We Go from Here?

Joseph E. Coombs1
Estimated H-index: 1
Farid Sadrieh4
Estimated H-index: 4
Madan Annavarjula6
Estimated H-index: 6
INTRODUCTION At the convergence of entrepreneurship research and literature on international management, scholarly investigations of international entrepreneurial firms hold the promise of enriching and broadening both fields by bridging a gap that has long been overlooked. A renewed interest in entrepreneurial thinking and activity by government policy makers and industry leaders worldwide has added legitimacy to the field of international entrepreneurship (Fernandez & Nieto, 2006., Fletcher, 2004., Thomas & Mueller, 2000). Additional evidence of the importance of global markets to small and new firms comes from scholars and business experts who have enthusiastically recommended that all businesses, small and large, compete in international markets (Reich, 1991). Furthermore, government agencies have added to the chorus of calls for increased international competition by small firms: "Almost every panel identified globalization as a major force that will modify and mold the environment for small business and entrepreneurship over the next decade and beyond". (U.S. Small Business Administration, p.5, 1995). Although a growing body of literature has attempted to explain the inception, characteristics and performance of new ventures operating across national borders, research in this area has either been less than rigorous (Baker, Gedajlovic & Lubatkin, 2005; McDougall & Oviatt, 1997) when compared with the development of entrepreneurship research in general (Aldrich, 1992; Aldrich & Baker, 1997; Carsrud, Olm & Eddy, 1986; Paulin, Coffey & Spaulding, 1982; Wortman, 1986) or "lacking" in a unifying direction (McDougall & Oviatt, 2000 in Jones & Coviello, 2005: p. 285). Indeed, as is the case for most exploratory research, the disparate contributions made by various authors have yet to be integrated into a broad picture of international new ventures. As a field of study develops, it is useful to pause and assess the current state of the field and identify new directions and challenges for future work. This is a useful and necessary step designed to derive the maximum benefit from future research (Low & MacMillan, 1988) and is especially important in the early stage of a field's development to focus research in such a way that knowledge in the field can move forward. This article summarizes and assesses the status of academic research in international entrepreneurship for the past twenty years. It is also meant to build on the work done by McDougall and Oviatt (1997) and broaden the review of international entrepreneurship offered by them by examining a significantly longer time frame thus developing a fuller understanding of how this area of inquiry developed and how it has progressed. To maintain continuity and to aid comparability, this paper summarizes the same five key dimensions addressed in McDougall and Oviatt's (1997) review of international entrepreneurship literature (key issues, sample, research method, data analysis, dependent variable) and adds two more, theoretical perspectives and organizing themes. However, keeping in mind the need to add value to this study while being aware of space limitations, past research on the following three dimensions will be considered in greater detail. These three dimensions are: Theoretical Perspectives-what theory or theories are adopted? Organizing Themes-what is the key delineator of entrepreneurial firms? Methodological Approaches-how is causality determined and how are associations tested? We believe that these dimensions hold the opportunity for significantly advancing knowledge in international entrepreneurship. THE DOMAIN AND DEFINITION OF INTERNATIONAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP As a field of study, international entrepreneurship can be viewed as a subset of entrepreneurship literature rather than a subset of international business literature (Figure 1). Firms in quadrants I, III and IV (Fig. …
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Cited By51
#1Renato Cotta de Mello (UFRJ: Federal University of Rio de Janeiro)H-Index: 3
#2Angela da Rocha (PUC-Rio: Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro)H-Index: 14
Last.Jorge Ferreira da Silva (PUC-Rio: Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro)H-Index: 12
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