Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/18627
For most of the 20th century, internationalization was the domain of large, established firms. However, globalization and other recent developments have given rise to a new breed of firms which internationalize soon after their foundation. These firms are referred to as International New Ventures (INVs). McDougall’s seminal 1989 article was extremely important in sparking discussion about INVs. This article and subsequent articles have, however, been less successful in explaining the birth and success of these firms. Ventures that internationalize early have been shown to enjoy increased growth and better financial performance in the long run while suffering a lower chance of survival in the short term. This means that they are affected by different success factors than traditional firms, but the literature has thus far been unsuccessful in creating holistic models that describe these factors.
The goal of this thesis is to investigate the topic in the context of Icelandic software firms using the construct of international entrepreneurship (IE), defined by McDougall as “the development of international new ventures or start-ups that, from their inception, engage in international business”. The thesis presents a new framework, which takes into account the results of case study research conducted amongst twelve Icelandic software and high-tech firms, with varying degree of international success as measured by survival, foreign sales, foreign funding and foreign acquisitions. The framework draws from and builds on Wickham’s model of the contingencies of entrepreneurship using dimensions such as the opportunity, the entrepreneur, the resources and the organization.
The results show that success in international entrepreneurship depends on a mixture of factors that are interconnected and that develop over time. In order to add to the knowledge base of managers, a number of recommendations based on the results are provided. They are meant to guide founders and managers in the rapid internationalization of new firms. The framework and recommendations are intended to be general in order to benefit the maximum number of managers. This paper does not identify all of the factors required for successful internationalization, but the four contingencies and 12 factors presented serve as a starting point in the search for a holistic and applicable framework.
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