To read this content please select one of the options below:

The Internationalization of Early Stage Social Enterprises

International Business in a VUCA World: The Changing Role of States and Firms

ISBN: 978-1-83867-256-0, eISBN: 978-1-83867-255-3

Publication date: 21 October 2019


Social enterprises (SEs) have become important new actors in solving grand challenges in a VUCA world. Nevertheless, International Business (IB) research has paid little attention to them. To address this gap, we draw upon a comparative case study of two SEs: one addressing poverty and the other tackling ocean plastics pollution. Our analysis uncovers two issue-specific internationalization paths: a multi-local path and a born-glocal path. On the basis of the findings, we re-conceptualize internationalization in the context of SEs as an ongoing, issue-specific process of social impact scaling through bricolage, global optimization, and local integration. We conclude by offering suggestions for further accounting for SEs in the IB research agenda.




We would like to thank our two case companies for their time devoted to this study. Furthermore, we are grateful to Rebecca Piekkari and Arjen Slangen for developmental and thoughtful comments, as well as, Liikesivistysrahasto – Foundation for Economic Education and Marcus and Wallenberg Stiftelse för Företagsekonomisk Forskning for supporting our research.


Ritvala, T. and Riikkinen, R. (2019), "The Internationalization of Early Stage Social Enterprises", Tulder, R.V., Verbeke, A. and Jankowska, B. (Ed.) International Business in a VUCA World: The Changing Role of States and Firms (Progress in International Business Research, Vol. 14), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 357-380.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020 Emerald Publishing Limited