Early Internationalizing Firms' Capabilities: Classification, configurations, and effects on international performance

Shuijing Jie

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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The raise of the early internationalization of young technological companies from emerging countries attracts scholars’ research attention. Scholars argue that these technological entrepreneurial firms leverage capabilities to overcome challenges and liabilities in early internationalization. However, the large and fragmented literature on capabilities is ambiguous about the way that capabilities are conceptualized. Also, the literature tends to stress the independent and linear influence from specific capabilities on international performance, but we argue for the influence of configurations of capabilities. This thesis explores: a) the capabilities that early internationalizing firms need; and b) how do these firms configure capabilities to achieve high international performance. This dissertation includes four studies, two conceptual studies and two empirical studies. Results from the first conceptual study show that Chinese EIFs literature mainly focuses on outcome-driven topics. The majority of studies focus on analysing the influences from the and antecedents to outcomes. Meanwhile, the most frequently studies elements are firm resources and capabilities. As to the second conceptual study, we found that 75% of the international performance-related articles focus on dynamic capabilities. Moreover, most of the studied dynamic capabilities were related to international market observation and evaluation. The first empirical study has two significant findings. The first significant finding is that the dynamic bundle of capabilities contributes to EIFs’ international performance. The second significant finding is that we found several pathways to achieve high international performance in terms of capability configurations. Results from our second empirical study showed that there are no significant direct effects from cultural intelligence and global mindset on international entrepreneurial intention. Furthermore, merely enhancing the global mindset and cultural intelligence does not contribute to students’ international entrepreneurial intention. This dissertation extends and refines international entrepreneurship literature and capability-based literature in three ways. First, this research highlights the significant relevance of dynamic bundle of capabilities to EIFs’ international performance. Second, this research refines the capability-based literature by providing a capability categorization model. Third, this dissertation adds to the capability-based literature by adopting the set-theoretical perspective.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Groen, Aard, Supervisor
  • Harms, Rainer, Co-Supervisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date1 Oct 2020
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-5060-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


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