Capabilities and Performance of Early Internationalizing Firms: A Systematic Literature Review

Shuijing Jie, Rainer Harms*, Aard J. Groen, Paul Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
188 Downloads (Pure)


International-entrepreneurship researchers use a capability-based perspective to analyze the international performance of early-internationalizing firms. More than 300 papers seem to address the role of capabilities in international performance. The purpose of this study is to structure this literature and provide an orientation for researchers. First, we develop a capability-categorization model. Second, we use this model in conjunction with our systematic literature review to identify which capabilities dominate the literature and which may have been overlooked. Third, we find that, in a significant share of the papers, “capability” is defined rather loosely, which impedes theory development at the interface of the capability-based perspective and international entrepreneurship. We conclude with a research agenda for future capabilities-based international-entrepreneurship research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1143-1173
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of small business management
Issue number3
Early online date23 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2023


  • Capability categorization
  • dynamic capability
  • early internationalizing firms
  • international entrepreneurship
  • substantive capability
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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