Meet IE Scholar: Nicole Coviello

Nicolle Coviello, PhD, DSc Econ hc,

Lazaridis Chair in International Entrepreneurship & Innovation; Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

What are your key areas of research?

I work across three areas: marketing strategy, international business, and entrepreneurship. Most of my research involves young technology-based firms, and they provide a rich context for doing cross-disciplinary work. Most of what I do takes a ‘pluralist’ approach in that I like combining theories or lenses, and I like different types of methods. I almost always work in teams of people with quite different backgrounds and that means I have a lot to learn for every paper I write.  My history of publishing includes conceptual papers, review papers, and many different types of empirical paper.

What are you currently working on?

In terms of IE research, I finally (after seven years) finished a paper with Achim Walter, Monika Sienknecht, and Thomas Ritter (forthcoming in ETP). In it, we combine patent and survey data from German academic spin-offs that are led by teams of scientists. Our goal was to study if/how/when/why internationalization timing benefits from having founding teams with little or no business experience or international work experience. Although the IE literature consistently emphasizes the positive impact of these types of background experience, we find very different patterns. For new ventures led by scientist-founders, such demographics have either no or negative impact. Instead, internationalization timing speeds up if the founding teams had pre-founding experience in collaborating for R&D with international peers. Further, this type of collaboration (scientists with scientists) is more beneficial than collaborating with industry partners. Given most IE research studies tech firms but has NOT considered the research/science-based background of founders, we think our results are quite important. This project was a great learning opportunity for me because I had never worked with patent data before.

I’m also working on an IE project that has more of an HR spin (also new for me).

Last year, I finished a paper with Francisco Acedo and Maria Agusti (see JWB 2021). We used longitudinal secondary data from Spain and applied latent growth curve modelling (LGCM) to examine various internationalization patterns. I’m not a fan of secondary data and had not used it much before – so that was a good new experience, as was learning about how useful LGCM could be in gleaning new insights about the impact of a firm’s initial levels of export intensity and geographic dispersion on those core measures over time. Essentially, we use arguments about learning advantages of newness, absorptive capacity, and time compression diseconomies to argue that beyond internationalization timing, initial decisions about export intensity and geographic dispersion also matter.

Separately, I am leading a Special Issue at JBV on Scaling, Scale-ups, and Scalability. It has been quite a challenge to try and advance research in a relatively new area. That is, we had piles of submissions focused on high growth firms or growing firms…but you can grow a firm without scaling. Therefore, the challenge has been to identify a set of papers that will push ‘scaling’ research forward.

I also have grad students working at the marketing/entrepreneurship interface. Over the past few years, we built a unique set of panel data that now allows us to (e.g.) study resilience in young tech firms (see Anwar et al in ETP 2021) or consider NPD from both an effectual and causal perspective, over time.

What are a few of your personal hobbies?

Can I list want-to-do-hobbies haha? I’m not good at making time for hobbies but I do love to read mysteries and am particularly fond of any Scandi-noir authors. I also try to find time to paint and do textile art (felting, sewing). And I love trying to learn new languages.

What is on your “bucket list”?

In terms of research, my bucket currently has too many projects in it…but I am working hard to wind them up. Now I’m trying to focus more on a personal bucket list of people to see and places to visit.

Where will we see you next?

I will be at Georgia State University in Atlanta at the end of May 2023 for a 3-day workshop on IB Pedagogy. Led by Tamer Cavusgil and his team, I’ll be working with Manuel Serapio to help more junior faculty think about how to teach those subjects and how to build research into their teaching.