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Identification of international opportunities: A study of mature firms in mature industries

Nataliya Galan () and Ellinor Torsein ()
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Nataliya Galan: University West
Ellinor Torsein: University West

Journal of International Entrepreneurship, 2021, vol. 19, issue 1, No 3, 53-103

Abstract: Abstract This study seeks to gain a better understanding of how small late internationalising (mature) firms operating in mature industry contexts, which seem largely ignored in international entrepreneurship research, identify primary and subsequent international opportunities. Integrating international opportunity and network literature, as well as adopting a multiple case study design, we build on the evidence obtained from two Swedish and two Norwegian late internationalising firms operating in medium-technology industries. Our findings highlight the vital importance of business ties for identification of both primary and subsequent international opportunities by mature firms operating in mature industries. We find that such firms may identify their primary international opportunities by both discovery and creation. Furthermore, the firms’ reputation in the domestic market, accumulated technological knowledge and needs for product customisation and/or customer involvement in product development, may indicate whether the firms tend to discover primary international opportunities or create them either by strengthening existing business ties or by forming new ones. With regard to subsequent international opportunities, creation is found to be a more likely way to identify opportunities. We show that ‘false’ (identified but not pursued) international opportunities, apart from generating a beneficial learning experience for both entrepreneurs and firms, prompt the entrepreneurs to (i) realise the urgency of needed strategic changes and (ii) identify future learning content, i.e. knowledge which should be acquired by the firm for successful pursuit of subsequent international opportunities.

Keywords: International entrepreneurship; International opportunity identification; Late internationalising firms; Mature firms; Mature industries; Networks; L26; L14; Entrepreneuriat international; Identification d’opportunités internationales; Entreprises internationales de dernière minute; Entreprises matures; Industries matures; Réseaux (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s10843-020-00277-1

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