New IE Articles — August 2023

International Small Business Journal – Volume 41 (Issue 6).

A Special Issue on “Corporate Governance in International New Ventures & Born Global Firms” edited by Natasha Evers, Stephan Gerschewski, Zaheer Khan, Tim King, Olli Kuivalainen, and Pushyarag Puthusserry. The issue includes the following three articles:

On-ramp or speed bump? How boards influence the internationalisation of international new ventures

Fiedler, A., Fath, B., Sinkovics, N., & Sinkovics, R. R.

This article aims to explore how the boards of international new ventures (INVs) develop throughout the internationalisation and growth phases of the firm. Specifically, the study explores how the nature and extent of the board’s role changes over time in facilitating the INV’s knowledge and network acquisition. We draw on qualitative data, including 18 interviews with INVs and three interviews with experts on New Zealand’s high-technology sector. The data analysis yielded four main patterns. INVs that relied on an informal board during the initial market entry phase remained flexible in exploring multiple markets before transitioning to a formal board (Pattern 1). INVs that established a formal board during the initial market entry phase achieved accelerated internationalisation only when the board remained flexible (Pattern 2a). Where the formal board did not remain flexible, they became a ‘speed bump’ in the post-entry phase growth process, unless the management team could counter-balance this deceleration effect with bringing in informal board members (Pattern 2b). The findings suggest that the absence of a formal board also reduces internationalisation speed if the founder does not have the discipline to follow through with the exploitation of the perceived opportunities (Pattern 3).

The role of political connections in rapid internationalisation: A study among Chinese international new ventures. 

Yan, J., Deng, Z., & Meng, S.

Drawing upon the attention-based view, we examine whether political connections facilitate or hinder the speed of new venture internationalisation. Given the limited managerial attention and information-processing capacities of decision-makers, international new ventures (INVs) need to make a trade-off between domestic business activities and rapid foreign expansion. We hypothesise that INVs with political connections, being embedded in political networks in their home market, tend to focus their attention on domestic business activities rather than rapid internationalisation. We also hypothesise that a high level of subnational trade openness mitigates the baseline negative relationship. Analyses based on the longitudinal data of INVs publicly listed in China support the hypotheses. Our study contributes to the literature by unveiling the dilemma of INVs which are developing board political connections at home and seeking rapid internationalisation abroad.

Governance considerations and non-linear international scale-up behaviour among INVs. 

Crick, J. M., Crick, D., & Chaudhry, S.

Underpinning this instrumental case study is an effectuation lens. It investigates how a firm’s governance affects decision-making within international new ventures (INVs), which rapidly withdrew from markets abroad, regarding their re-internationalisation activities. Interviews with founding owners, exhibiting growth-oriented objectives, provide unique insights regarding a combination of effectuation and causation-oriented decision-making. In comparison to earlier studies that focus on the role and mind-set of the founding management team, findings suggest stakeholders like angel investors may exhibit an influence on certain INVs’ internationalisation decisions. Some decision-makers view risks/rewards against objectives in subjective ways like ‘loss of credibility’ and the ‘fear of missing out,’ rather than simply economic terms like growth. New light is shed on the importance of decision-makers validating internationalised business models and exhibiting an ability to pivot product-market strategies. Non-linear international scale-up behaviour may include a temporary domestic market focus and potentially re-internationalising to different countries targeted prior to de-internationalisation.