PostenInternational business

Early internationalizers expand abroad shortly after their inception (Autio, 2017; Hashai, 2011), an initiative that has an imprinting effect on subsequent organizational capabilities and resource requirements, so that these ventures develop idiosyncratic characteristics that differ from late internationalizers and determine their long-term evolution, performance, and survival (Sapienza et al., 2006; Schwens & Kabst, 2009). Early international entrepreneurship literature mostly adopted the terms born-globals (BGs) (e.g., Knight & Cavusgil, 1996; Rennie, 1993) or global start-ups (Oviatt & McDougall, 1995) to refer to such firms that commence internationalization shortly after inception. Some studies, however, rightly point out not all firms that expand abroad early are born with global intent or scope, and that, accordingly, the term 'international new ventures' (INVs) is more appropriate (e.g., Coviello, 2006; Prashantham & Young, 2011). In this paper, for the sake of brevity and general consistency with the literature, we collectively refer to such businesses as BGs, and differentiate other subtypes such as born regionals (Patel et al., 2018), as we further justify in next section.

BGs' internationalization behavior is characterized by risk-taking and innovation, and developed through entrepreneurial action rather than via a gradual cross-border accumulation and deployment of resources (Bembom & Schwens, 2018; Sleuwaegen & Onkelinx, 2014). Early internationalization is a particularly challenging undertaking because BGs must simultaneously face the liabilities of foreignness, newness, and smallness, all of which can impact their access to resources, business goodwill, consolidated routines, and domestic and foreign market knowledge (Freixanet & Renart, 2020; Yang & Aldrich, 2017; Zaheer & Mosakowski, 1997). Furthermore, such resource limitations go together with high resource demands resulting from their early international expansion. This is in contrast to late internationalizers, which usually pursue cross-border expansion only after developing a consolidated resource base. As a result, BGs' post-entry evolution becomes a process characterized by superior growth opportunities, but also by higher risks of failure (Sapienza et al., 2006; Zhou & Wu, 2014). Hence, general press praises new ventures' dynamism and international expansion (e.g., World Economic Forum, 2021), while researchers warn that BGs suffer from lower survival odds (Freixanet & Renart, 2020). These concerns lead to the fundamental question regarding how BGs evolve over time and the factors that may play a role in maturing BGs' performance and survival during the period after their first internationalization event (Jones & Coviello, 2005).

Prior research provides evidence of specific elements that may boost BGs' sustained market success, while mitigating their risk of failure. For instance, Efrat and Shoham (2012) found that while environmental factors are key for BGs' short-term performance, internal factors are more important for long-term survival and success; and Sadeghi, Rose, and Chetti (2018) underscore the influence of post-entry internationalization speed on BGs' export performance. Along this line, the literature identifies a profusion of capabilities, resources and strategic decisions that affect post-entry outcomes of BGs (e.g., Evers et al., 2012; Freixanet & Renart, 2020; Gerschewski et al., 2015). However, the extant literature on the topic to date is largely fragmented and requires systematic review and analysis to draw some definitive conclusions. For example, it remains unclear how various internal and external factors may interact to influence BGs' postentry performance.

To shed new light on this topic, we draw on complexity theory (Anderson, 1999; Chiva et al., 2014). a metaphorical and holistic approach that has its roots in the natural sciences and centers on the study of complex systems. It views an object of study as a complexus - in Latin, 'what is woven together' - and, accordingly, represents firms as entities formed by various constituent parts that interact with one another and with their surroundings (Dillon. 2000; Tsoukas & Dooley. 2011). Complex systems appear to be especially suitable for understanding the dynamic relationships between BGs and the different elements surrounding them. In particular. we position this approach dynamically to investigate the evolution of BGs' complex systems.

To this end, we conduct a systematic literature review that reveals managerial and firm-level capabilities - such as innovativeness, learning, and experience - , and networks, as essential components of BGs' complex systems that help them overcome resource deficits and thereby improve performance. Our review also identifies industry features, market characteristics, and informal institutions, as well as resources, which interact with firm factors to influence BGs' development. Finally, our analysis suggests that strategic choices and orientations may act as change catalysts that bring BGs' complex systems to the next stages of evolution, with further consequences on performance and survival. While part of the BG literature analyzes the role of some of these factors as antecedents to early internationalization, our review focuses on their influence on BG performance during the post-entry stage. Hence, we take as a starting premise that BGs go through different phases, which may be broadly divided between pre-internationalization, initial internationalization, and post-entry growth and resource accumulation stages (Gabrielsson et al., 2008), and focus on the latter phase.

This study makes several relevant contributions to the academic literature and to practice. First, our systematic review of 1 85 journal articles offers an overarching perspective of the different internal and external factors that play a role in the post-entry performance and survival of early internationalizes. Previous reviews are spread mostly across the whole international entrepreneurship domain, and the few that focus on BGs examine only the pre-entry stage, or they mix both pre- and post-entry stages (see Table AI). This prevents us from having a specific and clear agenda for future research directions on the topic. Hence, the current study reformulates the question of "why young firms internationalize,' prevalent in prior reviews, to the more interesting question, from a strategy perspective, of 'how early internationalizers may improve their performance and survival".

Second, adopting a dynamic complex system perspective is consistent with calls for research focusing on adaptable, evolving organizations that achieve performance through interconnected processes (Chiva et al., 2014; Freixanet, 2022), that considers time, behavior, and interactions (Jones & Coviello, 2005), and that applies system-based theories to make theoretical contributions in review articles (Post et al., Finally, in the assessment phase, we read the full manuscripts of the articles and discarded a further 18 articles that did not consider specifically BG outcomes such as performance and survival. We acknowledge that, while journals' impact factor or ranking is a quality threshold commonly employed in review papers (e.g., Bembom & Schwens, 2018; Jiang et al., 2020), it may leave out important work on the topic. To partially reduce this problem, using the snowballing technique through the consistently cited references of the manuscripts, we included 15 articles we found to be relevant, thus arriving at a final sample of 185 articles over the period 1997-2020. The sample articles for the review are published in 39 journals, of which nine journals belong to the FT 50 list (see Table A2 for the list). Figure 1 shows the process conducted to identify the sample for the literature review.

2.2 Data Coding

Since our comprehensive literature review focuses on a specific research topic with narrow scope, we adopted Gaur and Kumar's (2018) recommended coding scheme, which contains parent categories for coding the articles: the type of study (i.e., conceptual or empirical), theory(ies) employed, scope of study (i.e., single- or cross-country), and context of the study (i.e., developed economies, emerging economies, or mixed). We also included the type of research (i.e., quantitative, qualitative, mixed, or conceptual) and the type of analysis conducted (i.e., longitudinal or cross-sectional) as categories of the review.

With regard to the research theme parent category and sub-categories (Aguilera et al., 2020; Gaur & Kumar, 2018), we followed two steps. First, based on a deductive approach, we considered the list of system components in complexity and systems-based models (e.g., Chiva et al., 2014; Nadler & Tushman, 1980; Schleicher et al., 2018), which forms our baseline conceptual framework. Second, we followed an inductive approach, based on a comprehensive review of the literature on early internationalizers, to identify the various types of elements. From these two steps, six general sub-categories emerged corresponding to the components of a dynamic system: system inputs, firm-level capabilities, managers' characteristics, networks, change catalysts, and system outputs. Finally, we also took into account the parent themes related to the primary variables (i.e., dependent variables, independent variables, moderators, and mediators) and the key findings. Since the reviewed articles consist of a diverse set of factors and relationships, we discuss them along with our interpretation of each of the subcategories in the next section. Our final coding scheme consists of seven parent categories and their corresponding sub-categories (see Table A3).

Once the coding scheme was defined, we coded the sample articles. To enhance the reliability of the coding process, all the authors jointly reviewed the results. Although our initial coding resulted in an inter-coder reliability -...

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