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What entrepreneurs do? Entrepreneurial action guided by entrepreneurial opportunities and entrepreneurial learning in early internationalising firms

Shingairai Grace Masango (Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK)
Paul Lassalle (Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, Strathclyde Business School, Glasgow, UK)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 8 June 2020

Issue publication date: 7 December 2020

1023

Abstract

Purpose

There is a growing interest in exploring the interface between international marketing and entrepreneurial opportunities. This paper contributes by defining and elucidating entrepreneurial action in early internationalising software firms and the corresponding emergent international marketing activities. Entrepreneurial action in early internationalising software firms is explored through the operationalisation of a reconceptualised entrepreneurial opportunity construct and the associated entrepreneurial learning processes.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopts an inductive approach, which traces the evolution of five early internationalising propriety software South African firms; from the new venture idea to the establishment of the international entrepreneurial opportunity.

Findings

The findings provide support for entrepreneurial action guided by: prior industry experience, entrepreneurial alertness, opportunity confidence and two levels of entrepreneurial learning; experiential and double-loop learning. Learning by doing allows for the continuous evaluation of the new venture idea leading to the international entrepreneurial opportunity. Market responsiveness and continuous product development resulting in the emergence of the firm's inward international marketing activities constitute the key outcomes of entrepreneurial action.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited to a specific technology context, which is young software firms whose inward directed internationalisation activities coalesce around the development of their proprietary software technology.

Originality/value

Based on an original dataset of early internationalising software firms from South Africa, this paper inductively operationalises and conceptualises entrepreneurial action as the combined interaction of four key constructs: contingent effects, attitudes to opportunities, learning by doing and entrepreneurial activities leading to the firm's inward international marketing activities and a diversified international client and end-user base.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would want to thank the following people; the attendees at the ISBE conference in Paris for their support through the award of the best paper in track, Professor Nathaniel Boso for guiding us to the IMR journal, Doctor Lucrezia Casulli and Professor Nigel Lockett for taking the time to read and comment on different sections of the paper, the anonymous reviewers and the associate editor (Professor Susan Freeman) for their very supportive feedback. All this support has greatly helped with the development of this paper.

Citation

Masango, S.G. and Lassalle, P. (2020), "What entrepreneurs do? Entrepreneurial action guided by entrepreneurial opportunities and entrepreneurial learning in early internationalising firms", International Marketing Review, Vol. 37 No. 6, pp. 1083-1119. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMR-10-2018-0273

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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