Internationalization process through an opportunity lens


  • Sérgio Rezende Pontifícia Universidade Catolica de Minas Gerais
  • Kátia Galdino Florida State University
  • Bruce Lamont Florida State University



Internationalization process, International opportunity, Opportunity source, Opportunity learning, Sequential moves


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to establish a conversation between international business and international entrepreneurship literatures by analyzing if and how international opportunities are related to the internationalization process of the firm. Design/methodology/approach – This paper reports finding from a backward-looking longitudinal, qualitative, embedded case study of an internationalized Brazilian firm, covering all 13 foreign markets where the firm has operated over 18 years. Findings – Modal shifts within foreign markets were rare. Over time, the firm learned how to refine, rather than change, the servicing modes within each foreign market; it also learned how to better develop internal and exploitative opportunities, manage a portfolio of servicing modes across foreign markets, and use more complex mode servicing packages. Overall, international opportunities and the internationalization process of the firm were inextricably connected. Research limitations/implications – The authors acknowledge limitations related to the statistical generalizability of the research method and suggest that statistical validation is needed as the research on opportunities and the internationalization process of the firm progresses. Practical implications – Internationalizing firms should carefully consider the choice of entry mode in foreign markets. They should also understand that learning is not necessarily associated with change. Originality/value – The authors show that the internationalization process of a traditional firm can be analyzed through an opportunity lens. This means associating characteristics of international opportunities with mode continuation and modal shifts in all foreign markets where the firm operates.


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Research Paper