Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 9 August 2011



Young, S. (2011), "Foreword", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 18 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Foreword From: Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Volume 18, Issue 3

I am delighted to write this Foreword to the special issue edited by Margaret Fletcher and Sharon Loane as a tribute to the work of the late Professor Jim Bell of the University of Ulster.

Professor Bell was a doctoral researcher of mine who completed his work on “The role of government in small firm internationalisation” in 1994. While he was already well-known internationally at this time, his publications out of his PhD in 1995 and particularly his paper in the European Journal of Marketing (Bell, 2005) was and remains highly influential to this day. Jim’s doctorate and his early papers were not positioned within the international entrepreneurship field, which, indeed, was not recognised as a distinct area of academic study at the time. However, these articles and his work, for example, on an integrative model of small firm internationalisation (Bell et al., 2003)[1] and on “born-again” (Bell et al., 2001) global firms are now recognised as major contributions in international entrepreneurship. Yet he was unassuming and, while admiring scholarship, always emphasised policy and practice, and did not have so much time for work of high abstraction which lacked real world relevance.

Professor Bell’s academic research, writing and consultancy work was only a small constituent of his contribution. He was truly a “geocentric man”. His chameleon characteristics meant that he was at home everywhere in the world. He was born in Arequipa, Peru, taught in Nebraska, USA and University of Otago, New Zealand, and all his life he worked in exporting and international business. Jim also characterised the best of Ireland: warm, couthy and amusing, with a family he adored. From a professional perspective a major contribution was his global networking capabilities, bringing people together and encouraging the free flow of ideas. He was the centre of the hub of international entrepreneurship researchers, in Europe and Australasia certainly; and he was a mentor to many of us, both formally and informally, through his teaching, as a research supervisor and assessor, and as a colleague and friend.

In concluding, Professor Bell would have been especially pleased to be associated with this special issue because Dr Sharon Loane was his first PhD student and colleague, and he was also the external examiner for Dr Margaret Fletcher’s PhD.

Stephen YoungUniversity of Glasgow Business School, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK

Reprinted in Oviatt and McDougall (2007).


Bell, J.D. (2005), “The internationalization of small computer software firms: a further challenge to ‘stage’ theories”, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 29 No. 8, pp. 60–75

Bell, J.D., McNaughton, R. and Young, S. (2001), “Born-again global firms: an extension to the born global phenomenon”, Journal of International Management, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 173–90

Bell, J.D., McNaughton, R., Young, S. and Crick, D. (2003), “Towards an integrative model of small firm internationalisation”, Journal of International Entrepreneurship, Vol. 1 No. 4, pp. 339–62

Oviatt, B.M. and McDougall, P.P. (Eds) (2007), International Entrepreneurship, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham

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