International opportunity development of born global firms: the role of institutions

Rubina Romanello, Masoud Karami, Stephan Gerschewski*, Natasha Evers, Cici Xiao He

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of the study is to investigate the international opportunity development process of born global firms embedded in two different institutional contexts: China, an emerging economy and Italy, a developed country. Drawing on the entrepreneurial opportunity literature and institutional theory, this study explores and draws insights into how home country institutions of born globals can influence the international opportunity development process of the firms. Design/methodology/approach: This paper adopts a qualitative case study approach with in-depth, semi-structured interviews of six born global companies from China and Italy. In doing so, this study uses a flexible pattern matching design, which is consistent with the qualitative research design of the paper. Findings: The findings of the study indicate that home institutions play an influential, yet differential role in the international opportunity development processes of Chinese and Italian born global firms. While the Italian firms shape their opportunities mainly through product innovation, their Chinese counterparts develop opportunities primarily through networks embedded in their home institutional context. Originality/value: The key contributions of the paper relate to an integrated analysis of the international opportunity development process of born globals in China and Italy based on institutional theory, which has received limited attention in the international entrepreneurship literature. In addition, the study advances the similarities and differences in the international opportunity development process in two different countries, thus providing valuable insights for policymakers and practitioners to enter international markets successfully.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-337
Number of pages35
JournalCritical Perspectives on International Business
Issue number3
Early online date12 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2022


  • Born global
  • Born global firm
  • Institutional theory
  • Institutions
  • International business
  • Internationalisation
  • Networking
  • Opportunity development
  • Product innovation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)


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