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‘Expect the unexpected’: Implications of effectual logic on the internationalization process

2014

C Forza I Kalinic Saras Sarasvathy

International entrepreneurship literature has indicated that entrepreneurs often increase international activities along unexpected lines of reasoning without having a precise goal, resulting in “unplanned” internationalization. We argue that “unplanned” internationalization does not necessarily involve non-logical decisions; but, entrepreneurs can follow an effectual rather than causal logic and may base their decisions on the affordable loss principle rather than on the maximization of expected returns. Based on five case-studies, we discuss the implication of effectual decision-making on the internationalization process. We find that switching from causal to effectual logic allows firms to rapidly increase the level of commitment in the foreign market and could assist in overcoming liabilities of outsidership and, therefore, successfully increase the level of commitment in the foreign market.

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