International Entrepreneurship in a Changing Context: Challenges and Opportunities for Theorising


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Unprecedented changes brought about by the global pandemic, rapid technological advancements, political uncertainty and increased environmental sustainability concerns, among others, have modified the international business landscape. Firms worldwide are being presented with new opportunities and face new challenges. Consequently, they are required to design new strategies, and possibly business models, or adapt existing ones to reflect unexpected situational forces and contextual changes.

International entrepreneurship (IE) can enhance business survival and drive business growth. However, to date, we have limited understanding of how the international strategies of early internationalising firms (Knight and Cavusgil, 2004; Oviatt and McDougall, 1994) and micro-multinationals (Dimitratos et al., 2003; Stoian et al., 2018), hereafter collectively denominated international entrepreneurial firms, have been affected by changing contexts. International entrepreneurial firms, have unique characteristics (Choquette et al., 2017; Magnani and Zucchella, 2019) and therefore the impact of these changes is felt differently by these firms as compared to large multinationals or domestic small firms. However, IE scholarship has, to a certain extent, assumed context to be relatively static or has made simplified assumptions about the international context.

Using a contextualised approach is particularly important for understanding the behaviour of (international) entrepreneurial firms (Chandra et al., 2020; Reuber et al., 2017; Van Burg et al., 2020; Welter, 2011), given that entrepreneurial and international business circumstances vary significantly across time and space (Hoorani et al., 2023; Wadhwani et al., 2022; Welch et al., 2022; Welter et al., 2019). International entrepreneurial firms typically create and capitalise on opportunities provided by changing contexts (Di Gregorio et al., 2022; Reuber et al., 2018; Wadhwani et al., 2020) and consequently design international strategies suitable to less typical contexts such as those shaped by growing environmental concerns or major changes in the macroeconomic policies. However, to date, we know little about the challenges and opportunities such changes brought to IE and regarding the ways in which international entrepreneurial firms design and adjust their international strategies to thrive in such dynamic contexts.  

Contextualisation is key for both qualitative and quantitative research since it allows a deeper understanding of the phenomenon understudy as well as adequately framing the theoretical contribution (Cuervo-Cazurra et al., 2016; Reuber et al., 2022; Reuber and Fischer, 2022; Welch and Piekkari, 2017). 

Drawing on the arguments presented so far, we encourage empirical submissions, embracing qualitative as well as quantitative designs that push the boundaries of IE research, in an attempt to further illuminate the behaviour of international entrepreneurial firms and contribute to theory building. We welcome studies which consider multiple actors to be able to juxtapose the perspectives of different stakeholders relevant for the internationalisation strategies of international entrepreneurial firms (Stoian et al., 2018; Stoian and Plakoyiannaki, 2023). We recommend using novel research methods and conducting data analysis at multiple levels (Andersson et al., 2020; Plakoyiannaki and Budhwar, 2021; Welch et al., 2011; Zahra, 2021). Moreover, we urge investigating multiple country settings over several time frames to develop deeper insights into IE by disentangling the role of context (Chandra et al., 2020; Child et al., 2022; Kahiya, 2020). 


List of topic areas

  • Novel theoretical perspectives to explain IE in the post-pandemic context
  • New IE opportunities/challenges in an international context where digital technology advancements/environmental and sustainability concerns/political uncertainty are increasingly prevalent
  • Changes in IE strategies promoted by increased environmental concerns/modifications in the global supply chain/political uncertainty/anti-globalisation tendencies
  • The role of multiple voices, multiple actors and multiple levels in advancing IE research
  • Knowledge creation, sharing and recombination for promoting IE in a post-pandemic context
  • International entrepreneurial strategies in the context of state-of-the-art digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing and augmented reality
  • The (dynamic) capabilities that underpin novel or modified IE business models in a post-pandemic context
  • The process of designing and integrating environmentally (and socially) responsible activities by international entrepreneurial firms in different spatial and temporal contexts
  • International stakeholders' perspective of the sustainable development activities conducted by international entrepreneurial firms
  • The evolution of the strategies developed by international entrepreneurial firms over time

Guest Editors 

Maria-Cristina Stoian, 
Brunel Business School, Brunel University London, United Kingdom, 
[email protected]
Emmanuella Plakoyiannaki, 
Department of Marketing and International Business, Faculty of Business, Economics and Statistics University of Vienna, Austria, 
[email protected]

Eriikka Paavilainen-Mäntymäki, 
Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Finland, 
[email protected]

Ulf Andersson, 
Mälardalen University, Sweden, 
[email protected] 


Submissions Information

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Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.


Key deadlines

Opening date for manuscripts submissions: 1 August 2024
Closing date for manuscripts submission: 31 January 2025



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