PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to respond to Hennart’s (2014) challenge to the existing born global literature. In his challenge, Hennart proposes a simpler explanation of why some firms internationalize earlier and more aggressively than others. However, such a parsimonious model of born global firms raises the awkward question of whether born global firms are indeed any different from firms that internationalize more gradually.Design/methodology/approachUsing two extensive surveys of Australian exporters, this paper first explores the degree to which a set of six “facilitating factors” that Hennart puts forward are different across born global and non-born global firms. Next, it tests the second aspect of the debate highlighted above – i.e. whether born global firms behave differently from non-born global firms. This is done by testing for differences in the patterns of early market selection for born global and non-born global firms.FindingsSupport is found for both the role of facilitating factors and for the view that born global firms behave differently from non-born global firms. As a result, it is proposed that the Hennart and the RBV-oriented explanations of born global firms need to be viewed as complementary, rather than competing. Each may represent a necessary but not sufficient condition with respect to born global firms.Originality/valueA systematic testing for differences in facilitating factors and market selection patterns across born global and non-born global firms are both issues that have major implications for the born global literature, and yet have been left largely unexplored to date.
Review of International Business and Strategy – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 4, 2017