Journal of International Entrepreneurship

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 157–174 | Cite as

Using narrative sequence methods to advance international entrepreneurship theory

  • Gary J. Buttriss
  • Ian F. Wilkinson


Narrative sequence methods offer the potential to advance research methods and develop a common vocabulary for theory development in international entrepreneurship. While variables-focused, variance-based methods currently dominate theory development, they are atemporal, yet entrepreneurship is what entrepreneurs do over time. We examine the assumptions of variance-based approaches and compare them to those of narrative methods, which leads to a discussion of the nature of causal mechanisms. We then illustrate the use of narrative sequence methods to identify some of the mechanisms underlying the internationalisation of an intermediary in the electronic component industry, where internationalisation is interpreted as a form of innovation and entrepreneurship. We illustrate how these methods, whose value is being increasingly recognised, allow us to introduce time, timing and temporal processes into the systematic analysis of business behaviour and evolution, and to generate usable knowledge for managers and policymakers.


Internationalisation Mechanisms Process Research methods 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Management, Marketing and International BusinessAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.School of MarketingUniversity of New South WalesKensingtonAustralia

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