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  • Intellectual structure of international new  venture research: a bibliometric analysis  and suggestions for a future research  agenda  Article 

    Accepted Version 

    Rodríguez­Ruiz, F., Almodóvar, P. and Nguyen, Q. T. K.  (2019) Intellectual structure of international new venture  research: a bibliometric analysis and suggestions for a future  research agenda. Multinational Business Review. ISSN 1525­ 383X doi: https://doi.org/10.1108/MBR­01­2018­0003 Available  at http://centaur.reading.ac.uk/81124/ 

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    Intellectual Structure of International New Venture Research:

    A Bibliometric Analysis and Suggestions for a Future Research

    Agenda

    Félix Rodríguez-Ruiz

    Ph.D. Candidate in the Business Organization and Marketing Department

    Complutense University of Madrid

    E-mail: felixrodriguez@ucm.es

    Dr. Paloma Almodóvar (Corresponding author)

    Associate Professor in the Business Organization and Marketing Department

    Complutense University of Madrid

    Pabellón de 3º, Despacho 201. CP 28223, Madrid, Spain

    Alan Rugman Visiting Fellow

    Henley Business School

    University of Reading

    Whiteknights Campus, Reading, England RG6 6UD

    E-mail: paloma.almodovar@ccee.ucm.es

    Dr. Quyen T.K. Nguyen

    Associate Professor in International Business and Strategy

    Henley Business School

    International Business and Strategy

    University of Reading

    Whiteknights Campus, Reading, England RG6 6UD

    E-mail: t.k.q.nguyen@henley.ac.uk

    mailto:felixrodriguez@ucm.es mailto:paloma.almodovar@ccee.ucm.es mailto:t.k.q.nguyen@henley.ac.uk

  • 2

    Acknowledgements

    Dr. Almodóvar is grateful to the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports for the

    financial support received from the mobility program “José Castillejo" (Programa Estatal de

    Promoción del Talento y su Empleabilidad en I+D+i - Plan Estatal 2013-2016-).

  • 3

    Intellectual Structure of International New Venture Research:

    A Bibliometric Analysis and Suggestions for a Future Research

    Agenda

    ABSTRACT

    We examine the intellectual structure of the international new venture (INV) literature using

    bibliometric citation and co-citation analysis. We aim to identify the most influential

    papers/authors, publication outlets, and key research topics. We focus on the top 100 most-cited

    papers in this field published between 1994 and 2015. In the post-hoc reading, we supplement

    our main bibliometric techniques with the qualitative content analysis method to shed light on

    a number of theoretical and empirical issues. We find that the literature has grown significantly

    in the past two decades. However, the main factors that hinder the field are the diversity of

    applicable theoretical perspectives and the inconsistencies between theoretical concepts and

    measurements of variables in empirics. We outline a detailed future research agenda to address

    these inconsistencies and recommend using new lenses from international business to examine

    the INV phenomenon.

    KEYWORDS: international new venture; born global versus born regional; bibliometric

    analysis; citation and co-citation analysis.

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    Intellectual Structure of International New Venture Research:

    A Bibliometric Analysis and Suggestions for a Future Research

    Agenda

    INTRODUCTION

    The seminal study on international new ventures (INVs) by Oviatt and McDougall (1994),

    which received the Journal of International Business Studies Decade Award, has inspired a

    substantial number of subsequent studies (Gamboa and Brouthers, 2008, Schildt et al., 2006,

    Young et al., 2003). Scholars use a wide range of terminologies to describe this type of infant

    firm with the distinctive features of early and rapid internationalization from inception. Such a

    business is referred to as an INV which is defined as “a business organization that, from

    inception, seeks to derive significant competitive advantage from the use of resources and the

    sale of outputs in multiple countries” (Oviatt and McDougall, 1994: p.49). They are also known

    as “born global firms” (Gabrielsson and Kirpalani, 2004, Knight and Cavusgil, 1996, 2004,

    Madsen and Servais, 1997, Rennie, 1993, Sharma and Blomstermo, 2003). Other scholars have

    referred to them as early internationalizing firms (Rialp et al., 2005, Schwens and Kabst, 2009),

    instant internationals (Fillis, 2001), instant exporters (Coviello and McAuley, 1999), born

    international small and medium enterprises (Kundu and Katz, 2003), global start-ups (Oviatt

    and McDougall, 1995), rapidly internationalizing ventures (Cesinger et al., 2012), and born-

    regional firms (Almodóvar, 2011, 2012, Almodóvar and Rugman, 2014, Lee, 2010, 2013, Lee

    and Marvel, 2009, López et al., 2009, Rugman and Almodóvar, 2011, Rugman et al., 2015).

    The disparity in terminology creates confusion, especially when the terms are used

    interchangeably (Baum et al., 2011, Paliwoda et al., 2009, Svensson, 2006, Svensson and

    Payan, 2009).

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    The literature, however, lacks consensus on a basic definition of INVs. More specifically, there

    is no commonly accepted threshold to measure the “degree of newness,” or how many years

    after inception it takes a firm to internationalize. Similarly, there is no consensus about the

    threshold for measuring the “degree of internationalization.” On the other hand, Rialp et al.

    (2005) and Rialp et al. (2010) have found that the literature mainly focuses on the distinctive

    characteristics of this type of firm rather than on the determining factors of these firms’ next

    evolutions. These features include technological innovation, focus on niche markets, the

    promoters’ previous experience, and participation in international networks (Knight and

    Cavusgil, 1996, Oviatt and McDougall, 1994, Sharma and Blomstermo, 2003, Zahra and

    George, 2002).

    Furthermore, there is a mismatch between theoretical arguments and empirical evidence in the

    INV and “born global” literature (Rugman et al., 2015, Verbeke et al., 2014). Most INVs

    actually adopt a narrow geographic focus and generate the majority of their export sales in the

    home region of the broad triad of North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific. In numerous

    studies, these INVs have been categorized as born regional, not born global (Almodóvar and

    Rugman, 2014, Beleska-Spasova and Glaister, 2010, Cerrato and Piva, 2015, Lee, 2010, 2013,

    Lee and Marvel, 2009, López et al., 2009, Rugman and Almodóvar, 2011, Rugman et al., 2015).

    Recently, Verbeke et al. (2018) have highlighted the fact that firms with an extensive

    geographic scope from inception are still exceptions rather than the rule. We, therefore, agree

    with the notion that “born globals” are an extreme case of INVs (Verbeke et al., 2018).

    Additionally, there are few common theoretical grounds in the INV literature (García-Lillo et

    al., 2016, 2017, Servantie et al., 2016). Some scholars have argued that the Uppsala theory on

    the incremental internationalization process and the network approach are not sufficient to

    explain the INV phenomenon (Coviello and McAuley, 1999, Knight and Cavusgil, 1996,

    McDougall et al., 1994). They have also maintained that INVs challenge the validity of the

  • 6

    Uppsala theory, which models the development of knowledge and experiential learning based

    on organizational learning and increasing foreign market commitments (Johanson and Vahlne,

    1977). The Uppsala theory assumes that firms internationalize after a certain time has passed

    since their inception. Madsen and Servais (1997) have argued that born global firms evolve in

    a manner that relates to the network approach (Johanson and Mattson, 1988) and the

    evolutionary theory of the firm (Nelson and Winter, 1982).

    On the other hand, McDougall et al. (1994) have developed a theoretical model to explain INVs

    based on the integration of international business, entrepreneurship, and strategic management

    fields. The INV perspective emphasizes the role of individual knowledge (Oviatt and

    McDougall, 199

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