The terminology we use in IE

A new publication from Catherine Welch, Maria Rumyatseva and Lisa Hewerdine offers a useful assessment of how we, as IE scholars, have used and mis-used the concepts of INV and BG in our research.

I encourage you to read their paper because it is a good reminder of how easy it is misrepresent what you think you are looking at. I too have learned this and it’s one of the reasons I work hard to clarify the language we use. To this end, I want to address one particular comment made by Catherine, Maria and Lisa. What follows is an excerpt from their paper followed by one from work written by another team: me, Tricia McDougall-Covin and Ben Oviatt.

Excerpt from:

Welch, C, Rumyatseva, M and LJ Hewerdine (2016), Using case research to reconstruct concepts: A methodology and illustration, Organizational Research Methods, 19, 1, 111-130.

The concern I have lies with the italicized point. Here’s an excerpt from Coviello, McDougall and Oviatt (2011) that helps explain why:

Excerpt from:

Coviello, NE, McDougall, PP and BM Oviatt (2011), The emergence, advance and future of international entrepreneurship research – an introduction to the special forum, Journal of Business Venturing, 26, 6, 625-631.

So what’s my point? The original argument that the BG (aka the Global Start-up) is one form of an INV is from the seminal work of Oviatt and McDougall (1994). Since then, research has refined our understanding of firm types although much work is yet to be done. I believe it remains pertinent to understand if how and why differences exist for sub-types of firms. My hope is that this type of research will reduce conceptual stretch – not expand it. This is because scholars will more carefully consider and distinguish the types of firms under examination.

If you are interested in this issue, please read Welch et al (2016 ORM), as well as the full versions of Coviello et al (2011 JBV) and Coviello (2015 JIBS). And of course, comments are welcome!!