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The role of business models in firm internationalization: An exploration of European electricity firms in the context of the energy transition

René Bohnsack, Francesca Ciulli and Ans Kolk ()
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René Bohnsack: Católica Lisbon School of Business & Economics
Francesca Ciulli: Radboud University Nijmegen
Ans Kolk: University of Amsterdam

Journal of International Business Studies, 2021, vol. 52, issue 5, No 3, 824-852

Abstract: Abstract This article ties in directly with recently intensified interest in business models in international business (IB), using the energy transition as empirical context to explore their relevance in firm internationalization. The global energy transition presents a challenge for almost all industries, but some face specific difficulties particularly important from an IB perspective. We study a set of European firms that used to operate in a highly regulated context with (partial) state ownership, until government-directed market liberalization started to allow further competition and internationalization. Existing firms were prompted to adapt their business models to these changes, with new ventures entering the market to reap opportunities with novel energy-related technologies and business models. Linking insights from strategic management to the IB literature, we conceptualize business model-related specific advantages (BMSAs), and explore the role of BMSAs in the internationalization of the firms in our sample. We also uncover barriers to BMSA recombination in (potential) host countries, consider BMSA location-boundedness, and discuss implications for firms’ international expansion by presenting a new framework. Consequences for the energy transition and the actors already involved and (in)directly confronted with it are explicated, while outlining promising areas for further research, building on the insights and limitations of our study.

Keywords: internationalization; firm-specific advantages; location-bound/non-location-bound; business model; energy; internalization theory (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1057/s41267-020-00364-4

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