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Type: Thesis
Title: Beyond the born global : understanding the internationalisation process of biotechnology ventures
Author: Hewerdine, Lisa Jane
Issue Date: 2008
School/Discipline: Business School
Abstract: The past decade has seen a surge of interest in ‘born global’ firms which internationalise rapidly following their inception. While born global internationalisation paths are commonly associated with high tech firms, there has been some limited research suggesting that biotech ventures do not fit this model. My aim, therefore, was to contribute to international business research by investigating whether biotech firms internationalise as is suggested by born global scholars. Accordingly, my research focused on examining how the internationalisation of these small firms with radical innovations might best be explained. My research proceeded by means of a comparative case study of four Australian biotech companies, with their internationalisation histories forming the focal unit of analysis. The first contribution resulting from my cross-case analysis is to show that oversimplified measures of firm inception have led to ‘conceptual stretching’ of the born global category. This does not imply that born globals do not exist; rather; I argue that greater care needs to be applied when measuring inception. Ultimately, biotech firms do not fit easily into the born global category because the lengthy innovation process they undergo means they are likely to have strong pre-organisational roots extending far beyond their incorporation date. This pre-organisational history needs to be factored in because of its effects on firm internationalisation. My second contribution is to suggest a driver for internationalisation that to date has not been included in existing research into high tech firms: namely, the influence of the innovation process. The internationalisation decisions of the case firms could be explained to a large extent by the stage that their core technologies were at. The international partnerships that the firms signed were also very much affected by the uncertainties surrounding the intellectual property being exchanged. My contribution therefore lies in proposing that incorporating the innovation process can advance understanding of high tech internationalisation. I conclude by suggesting that theory development concerning high tech internationalisation should pursue further these linkages between innovation and internationalisation.
Advisor: Welch, Catherine
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, The Business School, 2008
Keywords: born global; biotechnology; international entrepreneurship
Description: Vol. 1 Beyond the born global -- Vol. 2 Appendices I-IV
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