A4 Conference proceedings

International entrepreneurship through a generational lens

Publication Details
Authors: Korhonen Satu
Publication year: 2019
Language: English
Title of parent publication: 23rd McGill International Entrepreneurship Conference
JUFO-Level of this publication: 0
Open Access: Not an Open Access publication


This study explores different generations of individuals in international entrepreneurship (IE) (Coviello 2015; Liu, Zhu, Serapio, & Cavusgil, 2019)and is designed to investigate qualitatively the perceptions of the IE phenomenon among the founders of early and rapidly internationalized ventures. With an initial question ‘how do (potential and current) founders of early and rapidly internationalized ventures representing different generations – the age-based cohorts sharing a common location in the social historic process (Mannheim, 1952)– reflect on the motivations and meaning of IE?’, this study aims to add novel insight to the historically contextual embeddedness of individuals engaged in the IE practices. Findings of the analysis suggest the subtle change in the meaning of IE through the lens of three different generations, namely ‘Baby Boomers’, ‘Generation X’ and ‘Millennials’. Analysis of their sense-making (indicating towards certain cognitive frames) suggests differences in the meaning of IE across the three generations as an outcome influenced by the differences in each generation's experience in the socio-economic environment. Therefore, the study provides some useful insights in understanding changes in IE and its trajectories. While we may have an intriguing and active Millennial generation of founders enacting the current advancements in the global economy and making sense of their venturing as making a social impact, the two previous generations, Baby Boomers and Generation X, as well as the coming one (i.e. Generation Z), add their interpretations to the “dialogue” of how individuals understand and engage with IE over time. It seems to shift from being a rather lonely, pioneering type of journey towards becoming understood as a more collective and holistic phenomenon. The findings encourage us to explore further the previous generations in terms of the “ground work” they’ve provided for the subsequent generations; or how founders construct meaning for IE in dialogue with the emerging generation as an inclusive and collective effort.

Last updated on 2020-23-01 at 14:52