Abstract

Entrepreneurial internationalization entails the evaluation and exploitation of opportunities across national borders. Understanding the determinants of such behavior in the pre-internationalization phase is of scholarly and practical interest. In this paper we tackle this issue adopting a cognitive perspective, studying how entrepreneurs, evaluating different elements of desirability and feasibility of international opportunities, develop intentions to internationalize their businesses. In particular, acknowledging the relevance of time in internationalization processes, we investigate how temporal distance with prospective internationalization opportunities influences entrepreneurs’ intentions to internationalize. Building on Construal Level Theory (Liberman & Trope, 1998), we hold that temporal distance represents a form of psychological distance. Psychologically distant opportunities are those not in the realm of entrepreneurs’ direct experience and are thus mentally construed, i.e. imagined and abstracted, at high-mental-level, being therefore associated with desirability facets. Following this line of reasoning, we propose that entrepreneurs’ intentions to internationalize will be more likely driven by desirability considerations when opportunities are temporally distant, and by feasibility considerations when opportunities are temporally close.

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