Hi everyone

As someone who reviews many IE papers, it’s interesting to note how people use IE terminology. I’d like to be able to say we use terms consistently, but we don’t. Moreover, I still get papers that are positioned as IE simply because they study SMEs.

Certainly, early IE papers (including my own) were SME internationalization studies. That’s because the phenomena we were seeing were so obvious in smaller and younger ventures. However, IE researchers have long since evolved from focusing on SME internationalization.

Today, I view SMEs as simply one possible context of study. More importantly, I believe that unless you have integrated theory, concepts and/or arguments from: 1) IB and 2) entrepreneurship, you are simply studying something in the context of a smaller firm.

In addition, we still have pretty loose use of the terms INV and BG. In fact, they are often used interchangeably and this isn’t always appropriate (unless you are really, truly studying global start-ups).

If you are interested in this issue, I encourage you to read the following for insight and food for thought.

* Ceasinger, Fink, Madsen and Kraus (Management Decision 2012) – this paper looks at how we define rapidly internationalizing firms, based on a review of literature and a survey of IE researchers.

* Coviello, McDougall and Oviatt (Journal of Business Venturing 2011) – this was our Introduction to JBV’s Special Forum on IE. In it, we have a section on the terminology in IE.

* Madsen (Journal of International Entrepreneurship 2013) – this paper uses empirical data to compare the INV and BG classification frameworks.