Different perspectives on internationalization research: a bibliometric review

João Carvalho Santos, Hortênsia Karl Barandas, Francisco Vitorino Martins


A wealth of research has addressed the internationalization of firms using different theories and conceptual perspectives. This paper examines the extant research on internationalization specifically delving into seven streams of research: Market Power, Evolutionary Model, Internalization & Transaction Cost, Eclectic Paradigm, Resource-Based View, Institutional and International New Ventures & Born Global. Methodologically we conduct a bibliometric review in six leading journals recognized for publishing International Business (IB) research, during a forty one year period, from 1970 to 2010. Using citations and co-citations analyses on a sample of 1,459 articles, we sought to better understand the internationalization approaches and how they are interconnected, by examining its growth over time, the most used approaches, the works that have had the greatest impact, and the intellectual interconnections among authors. We conclude that there is no dominant approach in International Business research, albeit the Evolutionary Model has been the most cited - in almost 26% of the extant research, specially the paper– “The internationalization process of the firm: A model of knowledge development and increasing foreign market commitment”, by Johanson and Vahlne (1977). We present a broad discussion and point out limitations and directions for future research.


Internationalization approaches; international business journals; bibliometric review


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