New venture internationalisation and the cluster life cycle : interdisciplinary insights on Ireland’s indigenous software industry

CRONE, Michael (2012). New venture internationalisation and the cluster life cycle : interdisciplinary insights on Ireland’s indigenous software industry. In: Academy of International Business (UK & Ireland Chapter) 39th Annual Conference, University of Liverpool, 29-31 March 2012. (Unpublished)


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This paper aims to contribute new insights to the burgeoning literature on small firm internationalisation and international entrepreneurship (IE), and the born global (BG)/ international new ventures (INV) phenomenon in particular. It takes an explicitly interdisciplinary perspective, building on recent contributions from the BG/INV literature (notably network and resource-based perspectives) and infusing insights from the separate thematic research stream on 'clusters' within economic geography, regional studies and related disciplines. The underlying conceptual question explored in the paper is: (How) is the emergence and internationalisation behaviour of new ventures (especially the propensity to follow a ‘born global' strategy) affected by the cluster life cycle context within which they are founded? This question is explored using a revelatory, longitudinal and historical case study of Ireland's indigenous software cluster. Within the case study, particular attention is focused on the creation and internationalisation of eight 'true born global‘ software firms (i.e. embedded units of analysis). A notable feature of the paper is that the investigation of these born global firms is - in contrast to many previous studies - fully contextualised within an account of the wider cluster‘s emergence and evolution over a period of two decades.

The case study findings draw attention to the pivotal importance of the specific geographic and historical context within which the studied born global software firms were created then internationalised. The eight firms studied were founded in the late 1990s, when the Irish software industry was in the expansionary/established stage of its cluster life cycle. By this time, the regional entrepreneurial environment in Ireland was significantly more supportive than that which prevailed in earlier years, and some of the resources that are known to be useful for early and rapid internationalisation (e.g. venture capital, experienced executives and supportive institutions) were relatively abundant. In addition, the studied BG firms had superior resources and capabilities at inception, by comparison with firms founded in earlier stages of the cluster life cycle, due to the extensive prior experiences of their founding team members, acquired during earlier phases of the cluster life cycle.

The case study suggests that the emergence of a certain type of 'truly born global' firm may be specific to particular places and periods in time, and predicated upon a rather unusual convergence of favourable circumstances – as was apparently the case in Ireland in the late 1990s/early 2000s. In terms of wider implications for the literature on internationalisation, the case study suggests that the context for new venture creation (both geographically and historically) may matter to a greater extent than is commonly acknowledged in the IB and IE literature, and should perhaps be given greater attention in future studies. The paper also illustrates the potential ‗added value‘ of an interdisciplinary perspective.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Business School Research Institute > People, Work and Organisation
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Business School > Department of Management
Depositing User: Michael Crone
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2012 09:32
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 08:08

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