Abstract

How do entrepreneurial firms enact fast-paced internationalization in capturing global opportunities? We introduce the term accelerated multinationalization to explain the distinctive process of rapid internationalization, where firms transition fast toward becoming multinational enterprises (MNEs). Drawing on eight theory-building case studies of entrepreneurial U.S. firms in the software-as-a-service (SaaS) sector, we find that accelerated multinationalization is fundamentally fueled by an industry recipe template, navigated by specific execution of this recipe, and carefully managed via pacing. This paper offers an integrated theoretical explanation that reveals the enabling mechanisms underpinning accelerated multinationalization.

While many entrepreneurial firms internationalize rapidly, most literature in international entrepreneurship focuses on internationalization via exporting. However, many entrepreneurial firms today internationalize more aggressively through the establishment of foreign subsidiaries and thus fast become a multinational enterprise (MNE). However, it is unclear how the breadth and depth of knowledge is effectively accumulated during this process, and how significant rapid international expansion can be successfully achieved.

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