University of Oulu

The changes in the internationalization process of born global start-ups in a crisis environment

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Author: Liyanage, Ayesh1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Marketing, Marketing
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
Pages: 89
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : A. Liyanage, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-09-17
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Komulainen, Hanna
Reviewer: Nätti, Satu
Komulainen, Hanna


Venturing into global markets is viewed as a challenging task for high tech startups due to number of reasons such as lack of funding, resources, competition, etc. These challenges can get intensified in the presence of a global level crisis like Covid19 and it may urge born global firms to revisit and transform their internationalization strategies to secure their growth ambitions and increase the likelihood of survival. Today, speed is widely recognized as an important source of competitive advantage and this is highly applicable for the firms who are operating in high tech industries. These companies cannot pause or delay their development or progression due to external shocks in the business environment because that will make their value offerings obsolete within the global market landscape. Hence, it’s important to explore an optimum internationalization strategy which is capable of overcoming the challenges caused by pandemic. The main research problem of the thesis is built around this idea and it deeply explores the post Covid-19 changes in the internationalization process of a high-tech born global start-ups with a special focus on the role of social networks and internet based sales channel strategies in deriving a more crisis friendly internationalization model. The prolonged pandemic has transformed many industries globally and it has become the new normal urging firms to learn how to live with it. However, there is a clear dearth of studies in this particular research area as Covid-19 has been a relatively new and unexpected development which came out as a surprise.

Theoretically, the present study is based on two different strategic alternatives to understand the company’s internationalization strategy. Born global approach is a one alternative and the idea of complex internationalization strategies is the other option which have been evaluated within a crisis environment. The thesis has used a qualitative exploratory research design to closely observe how high-tech born global start-ups react to the pandemic, what have they done differently to secure their growth and likelihood of survival. The findings of the study revealed that born global start-ups intensify their born global strategy and transform towards a more aggressive and risk taking internationalization approach with the help of social networks and internet based sales channel strategies. The study largely denies the idea of complex strategies which reflects a defensive and risk mitigating approach towards internationalization. The social networks which are based on friendship, trust and years of exchanging favors are immensely useful to form strategic alliances globally. Further, internet based dual sales channel strategies play an influential role in securing non-exclusive distribution rights which protects firms against exploitive distributors and intermediaries. Overall, the thesis provides some valuable insights for both academia and practitioners in deriving a crisis friendly advanced internationalization model to face the new challenges of the Covid-19 times.

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Copyright information: © Ayesh Liyanage, 2021. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.