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Lean startup for international market entry strategy making : an exploratory study on a lean startup approach and its patterns on the internationalization of new high-tech ventures

Güther, Alicia (2021) Lean startup for international market entry strategy making : an exploratory study on a lean startup approach and its patterns on the internationalization of new high-tech ventures.

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Abstract:With the majority of startups failing shortly after founding, the question arises as to which factors exactly are responsible for it, and, most importantly, how startups can prevent these. Among concepts aimed at counteracting early failures, lean startup (Ries, 2011) is one of the most popular approaches, focusing on the importance of customer needs. While numerous studies demonstrated its relevance for product and business model development, only few studies related it to internationalization, specifically to strategizing foreign market entries. This study attempts to fill this gap by examining the patterns of a lean startup approach that emerge during the international market entry strategy making. A mixed-method approach was used, combining a qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) with a subsequent analysis of semistructured interviews. Questionnaires aimed to identify lean startup dimensions in the context of internationalization, in particular internationalization success. A total of twelve European high-tech startups participated in the study, whose founders received the online survey in advance. A fuzzy-set QCA was used to investigate the survey and identify configurations that produce the outcome of internationalization success. Surprising findings emerged, such as the absence of validation and, so it seemed, sole importance of hypotheses testing. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to explore these configurations, including how startups implement the conditions internally. A grounded theory approach was used, with interviews coded in a three-step coding process. Network analyses were conducted to visualize and explore relationships among the configurations. Results showed that customer insight and learning were most important for international market entry strategy making. Moreover, validation indeed seemed to be hindering, unless being conducted by using a minimum viable product. Hypotheses testing proved to be a subcategory of customer insight, learning, and iterative experimentation, with the latter three occurring in a cyclical pattern. Finally, the results showed that the application of a systematic lean startup approach significantly differed among startups, with resource availability being one of the most important factors for the implementation. Since internationalization success differed among the startups as well, the results suggest a relation between a systematic application of a lean startup approach and internationalization success. In conclusion, the study led to new insights, such as the possibility of applying a lean startup approach in areas apart from its original focus. In addition, startups benefit from the insights gained by better understanding which processes are particularly promising for designing international market entry strategies.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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