Abstract

Idiosyncratic internationalization motivation has been recognized as an important component of entrepreneurial internationalization. Often examined through the lens of international experience, the well-travelled entrepreneur is more likely to internationalize their business and more rapidly (Oviatt & McDougall, 2005). Individual factors have been theorized to also affect the “where” decision, which is largely driven by knowledge and psychic distance (Johanson & Vahlne, 1977). While the area of idiosyncratic perception of psychic distance in internationalization has gathered some attention (Williams & Grégoire, 2014), the area of perception of knowledge – what the individual thinks they know, also called familiarity, is not well understood (Schwens & Kabst, 2011). Guided by cognitive theory, I examine the effects of the familiarity heuristic on the internationalization location decision of entrepreneurs. I posit four hypotheses: that familiarity effects cognitive load (1), and target attractiveness (2) in a curvilinear inverted-U fashion, and that these effects are positively moderated by international experience (3, 4).

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