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Mapping the Intellectual Structure of Research on ‘Born Global’ Firms and INVs: A Citation/Co-citation Analysis

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The present research paper shows the results of an analysis of the existing literature on one of the topics that has sparked the most interest among scholars and researchers in the fields of international management and entrepreneurship: born global firms or international new ventures. Concretely, with the aim of identifying and visualising the intellectual structure of research on this phenomenon, a total of 124 research papers whose titles contain the above terms are analysed. The methodology is mainly based on the bibliometric techniques of document citation and co-citation analyses and the analysis of social networks.
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RESEARCH ARTICLE
Mapping the Intellectual Structure of Research
on ‘Born Global’ Firms and INVs: A Citation/Co-
citation Analysis
Francisco Garcı
´a-Lillo
1
Enrique Claver-Corte
´s
1
Bartolome
´Marco-Lajara
1
Mercedes U
´beda-Garcı
´a
1
Received: 19 April 2016 / Revised: 28 July 2016 / Accepted: 7 November 2016 /
Published online: 30 November 2016
Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016
Abstract The present research paper shows the results of an analysis of the existing
literature on one of the topics that has sparked the most interest among scholars and
researchers in the fields of international management and entrepreneurship: born
global firms or international new ventures. Concretely, with the aim of identifying
and visualising the intellectual structure of research on this phenomenon, a total of
124 research papers whose titles contain the above terms are analysed. The
methodology is mainly based on the bibliometric techniques of document citation
and co-citation analyses and the analysis of social networks.
Keywords Born global firms International new ventures International
management Entrepreneurship Bibliometrics Citation analysis Document co-
citation analysis (DCA) Social network analysis (SNA)
JEL Classifications L26 M13
1 Introduction
The phenomenon of born globals (Bell et al. 2001; Knight and Cavusgil 1996; Moen
and Servais 2002; Sharma and Blomstermo 2003; among others), also known as
international new ventures (Coviello 2006; Oviatt and McDougall 1994; Zahra
2005; among others), is one of the topics that has sparked the most interest recently
among scholars and researchers in the fields of international management and
entrepreneurship. However, it is also one of the most paradoxical (Garcı
´a-Canal and
Valde
´s-Llaneza 2015, p. 34) because they are usually newly created companies that
&Francisco Garcı
´a-Lillo
f.garcia@ua.es
1
Department of Management, University of Alicante, ES, Alicante, Spain
123
Manag Int Rev (2017) 57:631–652
DOI 10.1007/s11575-016-0308-5
manage to rapidly break into international markets. The paradox is that these early
internationalised companies seem to challenge the validity of the most widely
accepted theory on the internationalisation process: the model of knowledge
development and increasing foreign market commitments of Johanson and Vahlne
(1977).
As mentioned above, many researchers have argued that the creation process of
born globals is not sufficiently well explained by the existing traditional theories on
international companies (e.g., Knight and Cavusgil 1996; McDougall et al. 1994).
This is mainly because these perspectives tend to assume that companies
internationalise after a certain time has passed since their creation (Johanson and
Vahlne 1977). Thus, authors such as Coviello and McAuley (1999) indicate that
under independent examination the theories of direct investment, the gradualist
models of internationalisation and the network approach cannot adequately explain
the internationalisation process that characterises born globals. In the opinion of
these authors, the internationalisation of these companies is better explained by
integrating the main theoretical frameworks in a holistic approach. Consequently,
the literature on born global firms features models and conceptual frameworks that
integrate different theoretical approaches.
Madsen and Servais (1997), for example, reach the conclusion that born global
firms arise and develop in a way that has a certain concordance with the network
approach and the evolutionary theory of the firm (Nelson and Winter 1982). In fact,
the phenomenon is conceptualised through the establishment of explicit links with
the model of Uppsala and other more recent theoretical approximations such as the
network approach applied to company internationalisation (Johanson and Mattsson
1988). From the analysis of these theoretical links the above authors extract some
specific propositions around the antecedents and conditions necessary for the future
consolidation of born globals.
For their part, McDougall et al. (1994) develop a theory on these firms based on
an integration of the approaches of international management, entrepreneurship and
strategic management.
Weerawardena et al. (2007), to give a final example, present a conceptual model
of the internationalisation of born global firms based principally, but not
exclusively, on the perspective of dynamic capabilities. The authors argue that
the most critical capabilities in these companies include learning from the market
and internally, the capacity to develop networks and a high level of international
marketing skills. These capabilities, in combination with the superior qualities of the
company founders (such as having an international business orientation, previous
international experience and a general orientation towards learning) lead these
companies to be capable of developing knowledge intensive products that facilitate
early internationalisation.
From a different point of view, although there is abundant literature on these born
global firms, it is mainly based on their distinctive characteristics as opposed to the
determining factors of their posterior evolution (Rialp et al. 2005,2010). Among
these distinctive characteristics are (Knight and Cavusgil 1996; Oviatt and
McDougall 1994; Sharma and Blomstermo 2003; Zahra and George 2002):
technological innovation, focusing on niche markets, the previous baggage of the
632 F. Garcı
´a-Lillo et al.
123
promoters and participation in international networks. However, one factor that
impedes the study of the evolution of born global firms is the diversity of companies
that fall into this category. While some born globals are orientated towards
exportation to a reduced number of countries, others are created already
internationalising their value chain worldwide. The main factor that hinders us,
however, is the diversity of applicable theoretical approaches.
1
The present research paper aims to contribute to improving the current
understanding of the phenomenon of born global firms, identifying the principal
theoretical frameworks on which future research should be based. With regard to
everything discussed above, the main objective of this investigation is to identify
and visualise the intellectual structure of the literature on born global firms and to
this end we apply document citation and co-citation analyses.
The rest of the paper is structured as follows. Sect. 2discusses the data collection
from the sources considered most appropriate and the methodology employed. The
results of the author citation and co-citation analyses and a graphic representation of
the intellectual structure of the literature on born global firms are presented in
Sect. 3. The final section discusses the main conclusions and limitations of this
research.
2 Data and Methods
The primary database from which the source documents were obtained is that of the
Institute for Scientific Information in Philadelphia: the Social Sciences Citation
Index
, available on-line through the Web of Science (WoS).
This citation database currently covers some 2474 of the world’s leading journals
in the field of social sciences across more than 50 disciplines. It is made available
online through the Web of Science service for a fee. The Web of Science (WoS)
provides information to identify the papers most frequently cited and by which
publisher and author (even allowing access to the references cited in each paper).
The database consultation date was July 20, 2015.
In particular, and with the aim of identifying and visualising the intellectual
structure or knowledge base of research on born global firms and/or international
new ventures, a total of 124 research papers published after the appearance of the
paper by Oviatt and McDougall (1994) and whose titles contain these terms were
analysed (see Fig. 1). The 124 papers have a total of 8307 citations with an average
of 66.9 per paper. The frequency distribution of these references by years is shown
in Fig. 2.
Only journal papers were considered, in other words, research papers, as opposed
to books, doctoral dissertations or reviews and proceedings papers as only research
papers can be considered as scientific knowledge in that they have been subject to
1
In the recent literature, authors such as Zahra and George (2002), Coviello and Jones (2004) or Jones
and Coviello (2005) have pointed out the need for more specific and systematic research, in both
theoretical and empirical terms, on this type of international business. Likewise, Axinn and Matthyssens
(2001,2002) and Bell et al. (2004) encourage researchers to develop conceptual models and theoretical
frameworks to better explain and predict the behaviour of these companies in the international context.
Mapping the Intellectual Structure of Research on ‘Born633
123
peer review (Callon et al. 1993). The use of citations from research papers is
standard practice for this type of study to increase the trustworthiness of results.
The documents obtained were downloaded in plain text form (.txt) and converted
using Bibexcel
, a public domain software available free on the Internet. This
software was developed by Professor Olle Persson of the Institute of Information
Sciences of the Swedish University of Umea
˚specifically for the manipulation and
treatment of bibliographic registers.
2
2
3
5
3
8
10
5
6
14
32
14 14
6
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Number of papers analyzed per
year of publication
Fig. 1 Frequency distribution of the 124 papers analyzed by year of publication
0
50
100
150
200
250
Fig. 2 Frequency distribution of the 8307 references analyzed by years
634 F. Garcı
´a-Lillo et al.
123
Bibexcel
, among many other functionalities, offers the possibility of combining
the information extracted from different areas of a bibliographic register, including
the references cited, making frequency counts, analysing co-occurrence of diverse
elements (authors, documents, journals, words, etc.) and the application of
bibliographic coupling techniques.
In our case, the software was not only used for frequency counts of the citations
in each document but also, once the data had been pre-processed and the citation
threshold had been established, for the generation of the document co-citation
matrix. To approach the intellectual structure from the vision provided by the social
network analysis, we use the matrixes previously generated with Bibexcel
, treat
them with Pajek
and proceed to a visualisation through VOSviewer
. The
different multivariate analyses were developed with the statistical package SPSS
v.23.
At this point it would be useful to point out that the analysis of scientific maps
cannot be directly applied to the gross data collected from the bibliographic
databases, but that it requires pre-processing. This data usually contains a multitude
of errors and inconsistencies, mainly related to its codification. Sometimes, for
example, there are elements that represent the same object, such as an author’s name
or the title of a journal which can be codified in many different ways (e.g., Knight,
G or Knight Gary A, Strategic Management or Strategic Manage J) or the different
editions of the same book. Accordingly, the data were subjected to an exhaustive
normalisation process to guarantee their accuracy.
Given the impossibility of working with all the data and the fact that this type of
analysis requires a cut off point for the selection of the most influential work, we
considered documents with at least 15 citations. We obtained a co-citation matrix
Cwith the dimensions 81 981 that shows the number of times (raw co-citation
counts) that the documents, taken in pairs, are jointly cited by all the sample papers;
in other words, the absolute co-citation frequency for each pair of documents.
2
This
co-citation matrix has two main characteristics: first, it is a symmetrical matrix and
second, all the values on the main diagonal are zero, given that a document cannot
be cited twice in the same paper.
The next step in this type of analysis, once we have decided on the treatment to
be applied to the main diagonal values to reflect the maximum possible similarity
among the documents,
3
is to obtain a proximity matrix. To this matrix, and using a
statistical package, such as SPSSo STATA, we apply different multivariate
analysis techniques to reduce the dimensionality of the data using the Pearson
2
In general, the literature shows that there is no established methodological guide in this situation, so the
choice is usually the result of a series of tests to obtain a co-citation of an adequate size for statistical
treatment or graphic representation. Similarly, authors such as Schildt et al. (2006, p. 401) operate in the
field of entrepreneurship.
3
To be precise, there are two main ways of treating these values. The first (White and Griffith 1981),
consists in taking the sum of the three highest values in the corresponding column, remember that this is a
symmetrical matrix, and dividing this sum by two, which gives a value that, in the opinion of the above
authors, could be indicative of the importance of a paper. The other opinion (McCain 1990) simply
considers three values as missing data and applies the criteria of pairwise deletion in the realisation of the
calculations; in other words, ignoring the values of the main diagonal when calculating, for example, the
correlation coefficients between each pair of documents.
Mapping the Intellectual Structure of Research on ‘Born635
123
correlation coefficient r, which, despite all its critics (Ahlgren et al. 2003,2004; van
Eck and Waltman 2008), is one of the most used pairwise similarity measures
among a wide variety of normalisation strategies in the area of bibliometrics (see
van Eck and Waltman 2009, for example).
In this paper, and given our interest in applying hierarchical cluster analysis as
the main technique in the multivariate analysis and that this choice has been shown
to be particularly effective in this type of analysis (Garcı
´a-Lillo et al. 2016a,2016b;
Greene et al. 2008; Scha
¨ffer et al. 2011; among others), instead of using Pearson’s
correlation coefficient r, we use a relative co-citation value known as Gmu
¨r’s CoCit-
Score (2003) to obtain a pairwise similarity matrix, S, such that the similarity
between each pair of documents (Pi, Pj) is given by the absolute co-citation
frequency normalised by the minimum and mean of the citations received by each
one considered separately:
Sij ¼
C2
ij
min Cii;Cjj

mean Cii;Cjj

:
Each entry S
ij
is now situated in the range [0, 1], where a high value indicates a
strong association between two papers.
Note that the entry Cii situated on the main diagonal corresponds in this case with
the total number of citations received by paper Pi.
In the previously calculated similarity matrix, S—now suitable for the application
of the multivariate analysis—two authors or documents with few citations (both with
40 citations) with an absolute co-citation frequency of 20, compared with two
frequently cited authors (e.g., 100 times) with the same absolute co-citation value, will
receive a higher CoCit-Score (0.25 vs. 0.04) with the conclusion that the first two
authors/documents are more closely related to each other.
In the next section, we show the results of the author citation and co-citation analyses—
obtained in this last case by taking the matrix Sand applying an agglomerative type
hierarchical conglomerated analysis, using the Ward method, as recommended by authors
such as McCain (1990), Griffiths et al. (1984) or Zitt and Bassecoulard (1996), among
others. The section also shows a visualisation of the intellectual structure of research on
born global firms, which were analysed through VOSviewer
.
The above hierarchical methods allow the construction of a classification tree,
known as a dendrogram, which can be used to graphically analyse the union
procedure followed, showing which groups are linked and to what level, as well as
the mean association value between groups when they group together.
3 Results and Discussion
The results obtained after completing the different stages of the analysis are shown
below.
Table 1shows a list of the documents most cited by research papers on born
global firms and international new ventures published in the study period, resulting
from the citation analysis.
636 F. Garcı
´a-Lillo et al.
123
Table 1 List of the documents most often cited by the research papers on Born Globals and International
New Ventures
Ranking Most-cited documents Number of citations
1 Oviatt and McDougall (1994)99
2 Johanson and Vahlne (1977)82
3 Madsen and Servais (1997)73
4 Knight and Cavusgil (2004)71
5 Knight and Cavusgil (1996)61
6 Rennie (1993)60
7 Rialp et al. (2005)60
8 Autio et al. (2000)59
9 McDougall et al. (1994)52
10 Zahra et al. (2000)46
11 Johanson and Vahlne (1990)41
12 Jones and Coviello (2005)40
13 McDougall and Oviatt (2000)40
14 Oviatt and McDougall (2005)40
15 Yin (1984)40
16 Eisenhardt (1989)39
17 Moen and Servais (2002)36
18 Sharma and Blomstermo (2003)35
19 Chetty and Campbell-Hunt (2004)34
20 Bell (1995)33
21 Oviatt and McDougall (1995)33
22 Moen (2002)32
23 Zahra (2005)32
24 Andersson and Wictor (2003)30
25 Barney (1991)29
26 Gabrielsson and Kirpalani (2004)29
27 Coviello and Munro (1997)28
28 Johanson and Wiedersheim-Paul (1975)28
29 Knight et al. (2004)28
30 Coviello (2006)27
31 Gabrielsson et al. (2008)27
32 McKinsey & Company (1993)27
33 Weerawardena et al. (2007)27
34 Jones (1999)26
35 McDougall et al. (2003)25
36 Bilkey and Tesar (1977)24
37 Coviello and Munro (1995)24
38 Kuivalainen et al. (2007)24
39 Cavusgil (1980)23
40 Shrader et al. (2000)23
41 Teece et al. (1997)23
Mapping the Intellectual Structure of Research on ‘Born637
123
Table 1 continued
Ranking Most-cited documents Number of citations
42 Welch and Luostarinen (1988)23
43 Bloodgood et al. (1996)22
44 Andersen (1993)21
45 Bell et al. (2003)21
46 Crick and Spence (2005)21
47 Johanson and Mattsson (1988)21
48 Knight and Cavusgil (2005)21
49 Laanti et al. (2007)21
50 Freeman et al. (2006)20
51 Hashai and Almor (2004)20
52 Jolly et al. (1992)20
53 Sapienza e al. (2006)20
54 Oviatt and McDougall (1997)20
55 Autio (2005)19
56 Bell et al. (2001)19
57 Burgel and Murray (2000)19
58 Johanson and Vahlne (2003)19
59 Johanson and Vahlne (2009)19
60 Keupp and Gassmann (2009)19
61 Madsen et al. (2000)19
62 Miles and Huberman (1994)19
63 Preece et al. (1999)19
64 Coviello and Jones (2004)19
65 McAuley (1999)18
66 Jones et al. (2011)17
67 Reuber and Fischer (1997)17
68 Zhou et al. (2007)17
69 Cavusgil and Zou (1994)16
70 Crick and Jones (2000)16
71 Fan and Phan (2007)16
72 Jantunen et al. (2008)16
73 Mathews and Zander (2007)16
74 Buckley and Casson (1976)15
75 Kundu and Katz (2003)15
76 Lumpkin and Dess (1996)15
77 McDougall and Oviatt (1996)15
78 Mudambi and Zahra (2007)15
79 Narver and Slater (1990)15
80 Penrose (1959)15
81 Yli-Renko et al. (2002)15
638 F. Garcı
´a-Lillo et al.
123
The descriptive study of the above documents gives the following results:
The papers of Oviatt and McDougall (1994) and Johanson and Vahlne (1977),
which describe internationalisation as a gradual process in which companies
gradually acquire the knowledge and capabilities that allow them to sequentially
increase their international commitments, lead the ranking of the most cited papers,
with 99 and 82 citations, respectively.
The papers of Madsen and Servais (1997), Knight and Cavusgil (2004), (1996),
Rennie (1993), Rialp et al. (2005), Autio et al. (2000), McDougall et al. (2000) and
Zahra et al. (2000) complete the top-ten.
The full list is comprised of 72 research papers, 6 books and 3 book chapters.
Table 2shows the publications that published the above documents.
We can see that a large part of these papers were published in the Journal of
International Business Studies (20.83%). This journal is followed by International
Business Review and Journal of International Marketing (9.72%). The rest of the
papers were published in five journals: Journal of Business Venturing (6.94%),
Journal of International Entrepreneurship (5.55%), Academy of Management
Journal (5.55%), Academy of Management Review (4.17%) and International
Marketing Review (4.17%), a total of 26.38%, which would rise to 30% if we also
considered papers published in the Journal of World Business.
The application of the hierarchical conglomerates analysis on the matrix S, which
was found from the document co-citation analysis, gives us 8 different clusters.
Cluster 1 includes the works of Yin (1984), Eisenhardt (1989) and Miles and
Huberman (1994), on the application of the case study research method and the
qualitative research methodology. This methodology is used in some of the main
research papers on born globals (Prior-Jime
´nez et al. 2013).
Cluster 2 is made up of the works of Johanson and Wiedersheim-Paul (1975),
Bilkey and Tesar (1977), Cavusgil (1980), Barney (1991), Penrose (1959), Welch
and Luostarinen (1988), Buckley and Casson (1976), Johanson and Vahlne (1990)
Table 2 List of journals where the research papers listed on Table 1have been published
Title of journal Frequency Percentage (%) Total percentage (%)
Journal of International Business Studies 15 20.83 20.83
International Business Review 7 9.72 30.55
Journal of International Marketing 7 9.72 40.28
Journal of Business Venturing 5 6.94 47.22
Journal of International Entrepreneurship 4 5.55 52.77
Academy of Management Journal 4 5.55 58.32
Academy of Management Review 3 4.17 62.49
International Marketing Review 3 4.17 66.66
Journal of World Business 3 4.17 70.83
Others 21 29.17 100
TOTAL 72 100
Mapping the Intellectual Structure of Research on ‘Born639
123
and Jolly et al. (1992), a total of eight research papers and four books. In this cluster
we can differentiate two subgroups.
The first of these subgroups comprises the first three research papers mentioned
above: those of Johanson and Wiedersheim-Paul (1975), Bilkey and Tesar (1977)
and Cavusgil (1980). These papers approach company internationalisation from a
process perspective. That is, internationalisation is conceived as an incremental
commitment to the learning process based on the accumulation of knowledge and
increased resources committed to foreign markets. Although, there are numerous
proposals developed from a gradualist conception of exports, the most significant
are the Uppsala model (Johanson and Wiedersheim-Paul 1975) and the innovation
model (Bilkey and Tesar 1977), which is based on the study of exportation as the
basic internationalisation method for small and medium size companies. Bilkey and
Tesar (1977) also propose a stage model similar to that of the Uppsala school, but
focussing on the export behaviour of small and medium size companies and based
on the model proposed by Rogers (1962). Cavusgil’s (1980) model approaches
internationalisation through a series of stages based on the product life cycle model
of Vernon (1966), in which each subsequent stage is seen as an innovation for the
company.
The second subgroup contains the works of Barney (1991), Penrose (1959),
Welch and Luostarinen (1988), Buckley and Casson (1976), Johanson and Vahlne
(1990), and Jolly et al. (1992). The work of Johanson and Vahlne (1990) is basically
a response to the critics of their model—the Uppsala model-, proposed in the 70s
and they relate it with the eclectic paradigm and the literature on networks. Welch
and Luostarinen (1988) base their study on a group of small British, Australian and
Swedish companies that leave out different stages of the process and make relatively
early direct foreign investment. Jolly et al.’s (1992) study is based on the capability
of companies to achieve a global strategy. This capability consists in missing out the
typical intermediate stages of internationalisation to become important global
competitors in a short period of time. The studies of Barney (1991) on the resource
based view, Penrose (1959) on the firm growth theory and Buckley and Casson
(1976) on their internalisation theory complete this subgroup. The latter theory was
initially suggested by McManus (1972), but it was the publication of Buckley and
Casson’s (1976) book that made it the dominant approach to the study of the
multinational company in those years.
Cluster 3 includes the studies of Andersen (1993), McAuley (1999), Coviello and
Munro (1997), Johanson and Mattsson (1988), Andersson and Wictor (2003), Crick
and Jones (2000), Sharma and Blomstermo (2003), Coviello and Munro (1995), Bell
(1995), McKinsey & Co. (1993) and Crick and Spence (2005): 11 research studies,
9 of them research papers, one book and a book chapter. In this group there are 2
possible subgroups.
In the first subgroup we find the works of Andersen (1993), McAuley (1999),
Johanson and Mattsson (1988) and Coviello and Munro (1997). Andersen (1993)
made the most important critique of the Uppsala model. The main criticism of the
model is the difficulty in explaining how and where the internationalisation process
starts and why some companies internationalise their activities at very early stages
of their development, thus achieving rapid international expansion. Johanson and
640 F. Garcı
´a-Lillo et al.
123
Mattsson (1988) presented one of the deepest and most exhaustive studies on the
network theory applied to internationalisation. According to these authors, as a
company internationalises so the number of actors increases—competitors,
customers, institutions or entities—with which it has to interact. The network
theory underlines the importance of choosing suitable partners, as the success of
internationalisation depends on the benefits of the information provided by each
member of the network. Coviello and Munro (1997) also base their work on the
relational perspective.
The second subgroup contains the works of Andersson and Wictor (2003), Crick
and Jones (2000), Sharma and Blomstermo (2003), Coviello and Munro (1995), Bell
(1995), McKinsey & Co. (1993) and Crick and Spence (2005). These studies are on
questions relating to the internationalisation process of born global firms and/or
SMEs. For example, Bell (1995) analyses the internationalisation of a group of
small computer software firms. The study of Crick and Spence (2005) is based on
the internationalisation of high performing UK high-tech SMEs. Another example is
the study of Sharma and Blomstermo (2003) which indicates that models that
emphasise knowledge and networks are especially suitable for the development of a
theory on the internationalisation of these companies. These authors demonstrate
that born global firms tend to acquire knowledge of the international market before
their first entry into a foreign market and that the choice of mode of entry into a
foreign market is generally based on existing knowledge in the company and on
knowledge supplied by their links in these networks.
Cluster 4 includes the works of Oviatt and McDougall (1995), Bloodgood et al.
(1996), Preece et al. (1999), Shrader et al. (2000), Bell et al. (2003), Kundu and
Katz (2003), Jones (1999), McDougall et al. (2003), Oviatt and McDougall (1997),
Knight and Cavusgil (2005), McDougall and Oviatt (1996), Bell et al. (2001),
Cavusgil and Zou (1994), Reuber and Fischer (1997), Yli-Renko et al. (2002),
Johanson and Vahlne (2003), Gabrielsson and Kirpalani (2004), Autio (2005) and
Madsen et al. (2000). In total, 18 research articles and 1 book chapter. These works
analyse a series of questions on small and/or new international companies such as
their characteristics, factors related to their internationalisation process or the
antecedents of their achievements and their consequences. For example, Bloodgood
et al. (1996) used the resource-based view to examine the antecedents and outcomes
of internationalisation in a sample of IPOs. They found the international experience
of the top management team to be an important predictor of firm performance.
Oviatt and McDougall (1995) note the importance of shared vision and the ability of
the leadership team to communicate vision to all employees. Finally, Reuber and
Fischer (1997) analyse the influence of the management team’s international
experience on the internationalisation behaviours of SMEs.
Cluster 5 includes the works of Zahra (2005), Coviello and Jones (2004), Oviatt
and McDougall (2005), Coviello (2006), Keupp and Gassmann (2009), Jones et al.
(2011), Johanson and Vahlne (2009), Hashai and Almor (2004), Mudambi and
Zahra (2007), Gabrielsson et al. (2008), Mathews and Zander (2007) and Fan and
Phan (2007). 12 studies in total, all of them papers. A large part of these studies is
devoted to discussion on the research field of international entrepreneurship
(Coviello and Jones 2004; Oviatt and McDougall 2005; Keupp and Gassmann 2009;
Mapping the Intellectual Structure of Research on ‘Born641
123
Jones et al. 2011; Mathews and Zahra 2007), the development of a generally
accepted theory on the internationalisation of new international companies (Zahra
2005; Gabrielsson et al. 2008), their survival (Mudambi and Zahra 2007), network
dynamics in international new ventures (Coviello 2006) or the Uppsala model
revisited in the light of changes in business practices and theoretical advances that
have been made since 1977 (Johanson and Vahlne 2009). Hashai and Almor (2004)
affirm, for example, that although born globals do not internationalise according to
gradualist theory guidelines, it is true that they gradually increase their foreign
market commitments. Fan and Phan (2007) examine the pattern of born global entry
into international markets and suggest that born globals are not necessarily a
distinctive breed of firms.
Cluster 6 contains the works of Freeman et al. (2006), Zhou et al. (2007),
McDougall and Oviatt (2000), Lumpkin and Dess (1996), Teece et al. (1997),
Narver and Slater (1990), Sapienza et al. (2006), Chetty and Campbell-Hunt (2004),
Jantunen et al. (2008), Kuivalainen et al. (2007), Laanti et al. (2007), Weerawardena
et al. (2007), Knight et al. (2004) and Burgel and Murray (2000). A total of 14
research papers. There are three subgroups in this cluster.
The first subgroup includes the works of Freeman, Edwards and Schroder (2006),
Zhou et al. (2007), McDougall and Oviatt (2000) and Lumpkin and Dess (1996). In
their article, Freeman et al. (2006) explain how entrepreneurial smaller firms
overcome constraints to early and rapid internationalisation to become born global
firms. Zhou et al. (2007) offer a social network explanation regarding the
relationship between internationalisation and performance in born global firms.
McDougall and Oviatt (2000) define international entrepreneurship as a combina-
tion of innovative, proactive and risk-seeking behaviours that cross national borders
and aim to create value in organisations. Finally, Lumpkin and Dess (1996) clarify
the entrepreneurial orientation construct and link it to performance.
The second subgroup contains the works of Teece et al. (1997) on dynamics
capabilities and strategic management, Narver and Slater (1990) and Sapienza et al.
(2006). Narver and Slater (1990) analyse the effect of a marketing orientation on
business profitability. Sapienza et al. (2006) apply a capabilities perspective to the
effects of early internationalisation on firm survival and growth.
The third subgroup of this cluster contains the works of Chetty and Campbell-
Hunt (2004), Jantunen et al. (2008), Kuivalainen et al. (2007), Laanti et al. (2007),
Weerawardena et al. (2007), Knight et al. (2004) and Burgel and Murray (2000).
These works cover questions around the strategies of international new ventures.
Cluster 7 brings together the seminal work of Oviatt and McDougall (1994),
‘Toward a Theory of International New Ventures’, the work of Johanson and
Vahlne (1977) and that of Madsen and Servais (1997).
4
4
In 2004, Oviatt and McDougall (2005) received the Journal of International Business Studies Award for
their 1994 article ‘‘Toward a Theory of International New Ventures’’. The award recognised the authors’
seminal 1994 article, which introduced the phenomenon of born global firms (which they call
‘international new ventures’’) to the scholarly audience, and integrated literature from the fields of
international business, entrepreneurship and strategic management. The article also defined and
conceptualised ‘‘international entrepreneurship’’ (Oviatt and McDougall 2005).
642 F. Garcı
´a-Lillo et al.
123
Finally, Cluster 8 includes the works of Rialp et al. (2005), Jones and Coviello
(2005), Autio et al. (2000), Zahra et al. (2000), Knight and Cavusgil (2004), Moen
(2002), Moen and Servais (2002), Knight and Cavusgil (1996), Rennie (1993) and
McDougall et al. (1994). In this cluster we can also differentiate two subgroups.
The first subgroup contains the research papers of Rialp et al. (2005), Jones and
Coviello (2005), Autio et al. (2000), Zahra et al. (2000) and Knight and Cavusgil
(2004). In their work, Autio et al. (2000) employ the knowledge-based theory to
shed light on international growth in entrepreneurial firms. They find that early
initiation of internationalisation and greater knowledge intensity is associated with
faster international growth. Zahra et al. (2000) examine the relationship between
international diversity, mode of market entry, technological learning and perfor-
mance in cases in which international expansion is achieved through born global
firms. Finally, Jones and Coviello (2005) conceptualise internationalisation as an
entrepreneurial process of behaviour in time.
The second subgroup contains the works of Moen (2002), Moen and Servais
(2002), Knight and Cavusgil (1996), Rennie (1993) and McDougall et al. (1994).
The former authors (Moen 2002; Moen and Servais 2002) analyse the export
behaviour of some SMEs and born global firms. Knight and Cavusgil (1996) and
Fig. 3 Intellectual Structure of research on Born Globals and International New Ventures: visualization
performed using VOSviewer—map created using VOS mapping and clustering techniques
Mapping the Intellectual Structure of Research on ‘Born643
123
McDougall et al. (1994) explain the formation of new international companies,
challenging the limits of the theories from international business research.
To conclude this section we will show the visualisation of the intellectual
structure resulting from the application of VOSviewer
.
VOSviewer
is a software specifically designed to build and visualise large maps
of scientific knowledge—the construction of maps from bibliographic information
is also known as scientography, although this term is rarely used in the literature,
possibly because of the proliferation of other related terms such as ‘visualisation of
domains’ or ‘domains of knowledge’–, with special attention given to its graphic
representation. The tool was developed by the Centre for Science and Technology
Studies of the University of Leiden (the Netherlands) and can be used free of
charge.
However, although VOSviewer
can be used to build and visualise scientific
maps from any kind of co-occurrence data, it cannot create bibliometric networks.
Neither does it have pre-processing capabilities, which means that it is necessary to
use external software—in our case, Bibexcel
and Pajek
—to prepare the data for
analysis and then representation.
To position the elements on the map the application uses the VOS positioning
technique (van Eck and Waltman 2010), which builds a similarity matrix from a co-
occurrence matrix—the user has to create this matrix first then load it into the tool—
using a similarity measure known as association strength to normalise the network
(Coulter et al. 1998; van Eck et al. 2010), also known as the proximity index (Peter
Fig. 4 Intellectual Structure of research on Born Globals and International New Ventures: visualization
performed using VOSviewer—map created without applying any normalization
644 F. Garcı
´a-Lillo et al.
123
and van Raan 1993; Rip and Courtial 1984) or the probabilistic affinity index (Zitt
et al. 2000). The VOS technique (see Fig. 3), builds a bi-dimensional map with the
elements positioned so that the distance between any pair reflects their degree of
similarity as accurately as possible. Each element in the map is represented by a
label and a circle and the more important an element is, the larger its label and its
circle.
It is also possible to obtain the above visual representation of data through
VOSviewer
without applying any type of normalisation. Figure 4shows this
result, based on the opinion of authors such as Vargas-Quesada and Moya-Anego
´n
(2007) that the best visualisations of the intellectual structure of a scientific domain
are obtained through co-citation in its pure state, that is, with no normalisation.
The previous visualisation about the ‘state of the art’ of the domain or study field
analysed makes possible a clearer observation of the works situated further away
from other central positions around the paper by Oviatt and McDougall (1994). One
of these works is, for instance, that of Buckley and Casson (1976) which, together
with the studies by Hennart (1982) and Rugman (1981), shows a connection with
the perspective or theory of internalisation applied to internationalisation—an
approach which is based on the existence of market failures. This might suggest the
need to undertake new works on these types of firms from that approach. Another of
the highlighted papers is the one by Kundu and Katz (2003). Albeit designed as a
general model for organisations, the aforementioned authors claim that the model
devised by Katz and Gartner (1988) to explain organisational emergence also
reveals a huge potential to explain the early lives of ‘born-international’ firms.
4 Conclusions and Limitations
The research developed here through the use of citation and co-citation analysis and
social networks analysis allowed us to examine and represent the structure or
intellectual base of research on the phenomenon of born global firms or international
new ventures (INVs).
In particular and, as highlighted in the abstract of our paper, a total of 124
research papers were analysed for that purpose—examining and representing the
structure or intellectual base of research on the phenomenon mentioned above—
which allowed us to draw a number of important conclusions in this respect, such as
the highly interdisciplinary nature of the research focused on born global firms or
the need to integrate different theoretical frameworks or perspectives into the
development of a widely accepted theory about the issue analysed. In particular, a
theory derived mainly from integrating the approaches of international business,
entrepreneurship and firm strategic management. In short, what our paper seeks to
stress is the need to develop a sort of eclectic approach or paradigm that can bring
together theoretical perspectives such as the network approach applied to the
internationalisation of these born global firms or international new ventures (INVs),
the evolutionary theory of the firm developed by Nelson and Winter (1982), the
resource-based view or, as suggested by Weerawardena et al. (2007), mainly albeit
not exclusively, the dynamic capabilities approach to explain this phenomenon.
Mapping the Intellectual Structure of Research on ‘Born645
123
On another note, it is worth highlighting too that the paper presented here
additionally stands out for being one of the few scientometric studies, if not the only
one, carried out to date on the scientific production developed around the topic
under study or subject to research, for which purpose joint citation analysis was used
as the method of analysis in our specific case.
Co-citation analysis was introduced by Small (1973) and is based on the
assumption that between two or more co-cited documents; in other words they are
jointly cited in a subsequently published third document, there will be –at least from
the perspective of the citing author (McCain 1990, p. 443)—a certain thematic
similarity and intellectual connection in the field analysed; and that the higher the
co-citation frequency, the greater the affinity between them (Marshakova 1973;
Small 1973; Cawkell 1976; Garfield et al. 1978), with both authors considered to
belong to the same research thread (de Solla Price 1965; Culnan 1986). The
intensity of this relationship is given by the number of citing papers that have the
same pair of documents in their references. If we assume that highly cited
documents represent the concepts, methods or key experiments developed in a
scientific field, such co-citation patterns could be used to identify and visualise the
relationships between these key ideas (Small 1973). In 1981, White and Griffith
proposed author co-citation analysis as a new technique to contribute to the
knowledge of the intellectual structure of scientific disciplines, with the term
‘author’ being understood as the body of work of the same person. In this context,
co-citation occurs when an author cites a pair of documents of any two other
authors.
Therefore, making the above assumptions we can conclude that the authors that
have undoubtedly exerted the greatest influence on the development of the field in
question are Oviatt and McDougall. The works of Johanson and Vahlne (1977),
Madsen and Servais (1997), Rennie (1993) or Knight and Cavusgil (2004) and
consequently, their respective authors are, along with Oviatt and McDougall (1994),
among the most cited and co-cited of the scientific literature analysed in this study.
In terms of possible limitations, this study, as with others of a similar nature, is
subject to a series of important limitations as a direct consequence of the use of
bibliometric techniques in the document citation and co-citation analyses. This type
of limitation is mainly due to the fact that these analyses are independent of the
context in which they are developed. In general, it is difficult to predict in a citation
the proportion that is due to the intrinsic quality of the cited work and how much is
due to other factors such as the prestige of the cited journal or of the institution of
the author, the possibility of citing other works previously published by the citing
author, spurious reasons or even the development of a deliberate strategy to ensure
the publication of a paper in a certain journal, which would imply citing other
articles published by that journal. In any case, and independent of the reasons why
authors cite, the fundamental theory from the philosophy and sociology of science is
the same: joint citation is performed by the citing author, whose work contributes to
the accumulative advancement of science, repeating old links and finding new
relationships from previous contributions.
Another important limitation is related to the fact that a research project needs
certain time to accumulate influence within a specific research area. Figure 2shows
646 F. Garcı
´a-Lillo et al.
123
this potential loss of cited references in comparison with the research works
mentioned above. The maximum figure, with a total of 216 references, is reached
for papers published in 2004—the most cited ones—and it visibly starts to decrease,
following the aforesaid limitation, ever since 2008. Anyhow, as reflected in Fig. 1,
the number of publications examined which fulfilled the search criteria set to carry
out our analysis equally reaches its peak at 2012 and starts decreasing from that year
onwards, a circumstance which would somehow help to explain the effect described
above with regard to Fig. 2.
Finally, it is especially difficult, with regard to the analysis developed, to deny
the existence of a certain degree of subjectivity at the moment of deciding on the
final number of authors to be included in the analysis.
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Location of new products, 191. — The maturing product, 196. — The standardized product, 202.
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