Internationalization of transnational entrepreneurial firms from an advanced to emerging economy: the role of transnational mixed-embeddedness

Nicolas Li (Lead / Corresponding author), Dhruba Borah, Jihye Kim, Junzhe Ji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: This study investigates the role of transnational mixed-embeddedness when transnational entrepreneurial firms (TEFs) become internationalized. First-generation immigrant entrepreneurs who maintain business arrangements in their home and host countries own TEFs. In many cases, they internationalize from emerging economies to advanced economies. Nevertheless, this study focuses on TEF cases that internationalize from an advanced to an emerging economy, which prior transnational entrepreneurship studies have largely overlooked. Design/methodology/approach: This research uses a qualitative approach based on six TEF case studies from Canada and the UK venturing into China to explore TEFs' internationalization. Findings: The case studies explore the elements that constitute TEFs' cognitive and relational embeddedness—two main types of embeddedness—in home and host countries and how TEFs exploit such embeddedness for their internationalization. The results suggest that high levels of transnational mixed-embeddedness help TEFs reduce resource and institutional distance barriers in home countries, thereby assisting their internationalization. A framework that visualizes the role of transnational mixed-embeddedness in TEFs' internationalization and novel categorizations of transnational mixed-embeddedness is proposed. Originality/value: Although there has been a growing demand for research on the emergence of internationalized smaller firms, there have been few empirical efforts on TEFs' internationalization. It is still unclear how TEFs internationalize differently than homegrown entrepreneurial firms. This study fills this gap in transnational entrepreneurship literature by examining the influence of transnational mixed-embeddedness on TEFs' internationalization.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research (IJEBR)
Early online date8 Dec 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Dec 2022


  • Mixed-embeddedness
  • Transnational entrepreneurs
  • internationalization
  • Cognitive embeddedness
  • Relational embeddedness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Business and International Management


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