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Black Swans or an Emerging Type of Firm? The Case of Borderless Firms

The Future Of Global Organizing

ISBN: 978-1-78560-423-2, eISBN: 978-1-78560-422-5

Publication date: 14 October 2015



The purpose of this chapter is to introduce an emergent type of INV (international new venture) – designated as “borderless firm” – present some recent cases and speculate about its future occurrence.


A search of the literature identified 25 cases that fitted, to a greater or lesser extent, the conceptual definition of a borderless firm presented in the chapter. We also found three teaching cases whose focus-firms fitted our definition.


The three firms present a combination of intentional design with fortuitous experimentation and intensively exploited relationships. They fulfill the key features of our definition.

Research limitations/implications

This study is still embryonic and was driven by the authors’ conceptual thinking, based on their intuition about a new type of firm. Detailed data came from only three cases, but 25 other cases were identified, which did, to some extent, fit the definition of a borderless firm and, as such, could be studied with this focus in order to provide further evidence and to refine the conceptual definition and our understanding of the empirical manifestation of this type of firm.


We shed light on an interesting – and probably bound to occur more frequently in the future – type of firm with distinctive characteristics: a managerial mindset that does not feel constrained by geographical frontiers; a high geographical dispersion of value-added activities (beyond the sales and distribution activities that characterize most of the literature on Born Globals and INVs); and a multi-country pool of founders/managers and internationally dispersed staff.



Simões, V.C., Rocha, A.D., Mello, R.C.D. and Carneiro, J. (2015), "Black Swans or an Emerging Type of Firm? The Case of Borderless Firms", The Future Of Global Organizing (Progress in International Business Research, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 179-200.



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