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International competitiveness readiness, home country institutions and early internationalisation

Tianchen Li (Middlesex Business School, Middlesex University, London, UK)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 28 September 2022

Issue publication date: 17 March 2023




Synthesising an individual–opportunity nexus model, this research aims to develop a model of early internationalisation by integrating international competitiveness readiness, entrepreneurial motives and home country institutions and empirically assesses this model using a multi-level estimate design.


Drawing upon a global context comprising 79,402 entrepreneurs from 87 countries, this research applies a Heckman 2-step model together with a multi-level approach that allows to deal with self-selection bias and to take the hierarchical nature of the data into account.


The findings show that early internationalisation is significantly affected by entrepreneurs' international competitiveness readiness and this association is moderated by entrepreneurial motives. In addition, the findings demonstrate that the individual-level effects are further modified by the quality of country-level governance.

Practical implications

The research findings have significant implications and value for policy-makers who are aiming to stimulate the rate of early internationalisation by influencing the quality of governance.


The results contribute to the development of knowledge and theoretical bases in international entrepreneurship (IE). The results provide a multi-level view on the relationships between entrepreneurs and the internationalisation of entrepreneurs' firms from an integrative perspective, thereby complementing the perspective of international competitiveness readiness that primarily focuses on the effects of inherent resources and capabilities.



Li, T. (2023), "International competitiveness readiness, home country institutions and early internationalisation", Management Decision, Vol. 61 No. 3, pp. 838-860.



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