Theoretical Foundations of Entrepreneurship


On the basis of the explanations in the preceding chapters with reference to EVentures with distinguished internationalization behavior patterns, the need for holistic explanation approaches for internationalization propensity was assessed. In this following part theoretical foundations of entrepreneurship theory will be applied to the research problem at hand to achieve a better analysis of the internationalization decision and the phase of internationalization propensity. Inasmuch as internationalization behavior encompasses the recognition of business opportunities across borders it is believed that young firms’ internationalization comprises entrepreneurial activity. Further, it is postulated that “it might be that the entrepreneurial way of life takes precedence over national culture in small firms” (Boter and Holmquist, 1996, p. 479), and thus the internationalization processes may be more closely linked to individual rather than formal structures. A research study comparing the internationalization propensity of 357 young German and Chinese students conducted by Kollmann et al. (2007) found that although the political, economical and cultural contexts of the two groups differed highly, the propensity to become entrepreneurial is anchored within the individual in both countries. Moreover, while political, microeconomic and macroeconomic environments showed to have a low impact on the individual, the cultural environment had a significant influence on the individuals from both countries.


Entrepreneurial Activity Entrepreneurial Orientation Entrepreneurial Intention Entrepreneurial Opportunity Entrepreneurial Behavior 
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  1. 34.
    A consequence of this dilemma is the lack of unified approaches in entrepreneurship research, which makes it difficult for scholars, to compare concepts and empirical results. Katz and Gartner (1988) explain that the views on entrepreneurship are so fundamentally different that perhaps a comprehensive definition may not even be possible to achieve. For an overview and discussion of entrepreneurship definitions cf. Davidsson (2005).Google Scholar
  2. 35.
    Entrepreneurship can occur for reasons other than profit, for example, social entrepreneurship, where measuring the performance is still challenging today. However, in the following discussion, only profit entrepreneurship will be considered. For an overview and discussion of different forms of entrepreneurship see (Roberts, 1991).Google Scholar
  3. 38.
    For a different perspective on the venture formation process viz. Katz and Gartner (1988).Google Scholar
  4. 40.
    Kollmann and Kuckertz (2006) focus on this triggering event in a cross-cultural empirical comparison of entrepreneurship.Google Scholar
  5. 41.
    For a more detailed and case-based delineation of the venture creation process consult Timmons (2004).Google Scholar
  6. 42.
    Other process models cf. Sarasvathy (2001), Shane (2000) and Van de ven et al. (1999). However, Brazeal and Herberts’ (1999) model, also applied in the international entrepreneurship field by Jones and Coviello (2005), explicitly intertwines the personal, environmental and potential organizational context.Google Scholar
  7. 43.
    Equilibrium theories define entrepreneurship along differences among people rather than differences in the information they possess as proposed by economists (viz. Knight, 1945, and Hayek, 1945).Google Scholar
  8. 44.
    Entrepreneurial action can be conducted by an individual (i.e. personal level) or by a group of people who attempt to take parts of the entrepreneurial process together or independently (Shane and Venkataraman, 2000, p. 219).Google Scholar
  9. 45.
    Entrepreneurial process models mainly serve the purpose of conceptualizing and highly aggregating the whole establishment process of a firm, for example, Bhave (1994) interviewed 27 firms and developed his model of the founding process accordingly. One particular strength of Bhave’s models is that it is one of the few empirical founding process models, while the majority of founding process models are conceptual.Google Scholar
  10. 46.
    Lumpkin and Dess (1996) further developed the EO construct adding two further dimensions ‘competitive aggressiveness’ and ‘autonomy’. These dimensions apply solely to the firm-level.Google Scholar

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