Internationalization: From incremental to born global

Gary A. Knight*, Peter W. Liesch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

345 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we summarize how internationalization research has evolved over time, where it stands today, and how it might evolve going forward. Specifically, we examine internationalization research from earlier times to the present day. We contrast the incremental internationalization characteristic of older multinational enterprises with the early, rapid internationalization of born global firms. The paper summarizes the evolution of research on early internationalization and born global firms, and provides evidence to suggest why this area now has attained legitimacy in scholarly research. We then examine important theoretical issues in born global research and suggest avenues for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-102
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of World Business
Issue number1
Early online date9 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2016


  • Born global firms
  • Early internationalization
  • Incremental internationalization
  • Internationalization


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