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The opportunity-based approach to international entrepreneurship : an integrative approach to small firm internationalisation
conference contributionposted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Manuel OysonManuel Oyson
Greater engagement of small firms with international markets has attracted strong interest ininternational entrepreneurship. Current internationalisation models and approaches that seek to explainthe process of firm internationalisation have shortcomings that require the search for and development ofnew approaches to firm internationalisation studies. This paper develops the opportunity-based approachto international entrepreneurship and argues that at the heart of firm internationalisation is the formationand exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities. The opportunity-based approach views firm internationalisation as dynamic, non-deterministic, and non-linear, and seeks to integrate current IEapproaches (stage theories, network, resources, and capabilities). It also addresses the literature oninternational new ventures and born-again globals in order to develop a holistic perspective of small firminternationalisation. The paper will present empirical findings on the internationalisation processes ofeight small, high-technology firms in New Zealand, using case studies and an opportunity map to trackthrough time their internationalisation processes, as well as the entrepreneurial processes of opportunityformation, decision-making, and opportunity exploitation. It also reports on the principle of opportunityinterconnectedness which shows how firm internationalisation typically involves multiple opportunityelements (knowledge, resources, networks, capabilities, globalisation, technologies, etc.) interacting andcoming into play. The confluence of different opportunity elements typically facilitates foreign marketentry, but makes prediction of stereotypical internationalisation patterns difficult.