Transnational entrepreneurship in the era of closed borders and geopolitical turmoil Транснациональное предпринимательство в эпоху закрытых границ и геополитической нестабильности

Проект: исполнение гранта/договораисполнение гранта/договора в целом

Сведения о проекте

описание Научная проблема, на решение которой направлен проект One of the important characteristics of transnational entrepreneurs is their ties with the countries of origin (Drori, Honig, & Wright, 2009). Scholars highlight the notion of brain ‘‘circulation’’ with knowledge and innovation as well as people and money that move between home and host countries (Schotter, et al., 2017), and in a broader sense transnational entrepreneurship gives rise to new business founding, industry growth and economic development (Barnard et al., 2019). Prominent examples here are the stories of the Indians and Chinese that move from their countries to the US and Canada - back and forth and create the famous IT-clusters (Saxenian & Hsu, 2001). The ability to effectively use and leverage existing resources enables transnational entrepreneurs to create businesses and be less responsive to the liabilities of foreignness and newness (Barnard et al., 2019).
Knowledge of the language, cultural and institutional norms, as well as a network of contacts in the country of origin allows these entrepreneurs to build effective business relations with their country in a new quality (Stoyanov et al., 2018; (ortes, Guarnizo, & Haller, 2002). Transnational entrepreneurs often maintain ties in their country of origin ahe question of how transnational entrepreneurs use their new life experience in another country, which skills, knowledge and business practices they acquire and how they are used in conducting business operations with the country of origin, remains understudied (Czinkotaa, Khan, & Knight, 2021). Taking into account the exchange of knowledge, practices and technologies, we can assume that the new experience of transnational entrepreneurs affects the style of doing business and partners in the country of origin. This important aspect of transnational entrepreneurship requires examination and empirical research (Rana&Elo, 2016).
The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a huge environmental jolt that has changed the pathways of economics, institutions, and strategies of firms worldwide (Hitt et al, 2021). Long before the arrival of covid-19, there was a heated discussion on the future of globalization, whereas populist and nationalist movements, as well as geopolitical turmoil, have raised serious concerns over the advantages of internationalization and those who benefit from it. The pandemic only made things worse posing questions about the future of international firms (Zahra, 2021). One of the effects of the pandemic was the disruption of international business networks which are widely considered crucial to innovation, internationalization, opportunity recognition, learning and access to resources (Lorenz et al., 2018). These networks emerge out of personal, professional and business relationships and develop by means of repeated exchanges among interested parties. These networks provide entrepreneurs with valuable resources and knowledge needed for innovation (Cheung, 2004). Researchers highlight the importance of networks for transnational entrepreneurs as tool for knowledge transfer about business practices (Waldinger et al., 1990).
Disruption of these networks due to political backlash, geopolitical tensions and covid-19 have serious negative impact on companies that operate internationally, especially entrepreneurial firms (Zahra, 2021). The result of this disruption may be reducing the flow of ideas and resources necessary to international entrepreneurs to innovate, develop and adapt to the changing external context. Consequently, the speed of international ventures’ growth may decrease, because social capital within these networks is what entrepreneurs rely on when they internationalize their business projects. The disruption of these networks will result in the situation where international entrepreneurs will have to search for ways to connect and operate their business in the world of largely contested international borders in an environment of fragmentation of markets, weakening institutions, and distrust (Zahra, 2021). The investigation of the ways how transnational entrepreneurs can respond to these challenges and build resilience thus become the question of not only academic interest but also of fundamental practical importance. Актуальность проблемы, научная значимость решения проблемыTransnational entrepreneurship is a distinctive type of international entrepreneurship that has largely escaped the attention of scholars, despite its significance in the cross-national context (Stoyanov et al., 2018). In other words, the activities of transnational entrepreneurs span national borders (Riddle et al., 2010) and are able to “transcend “multiple spaces, territories, and scales” by taking advantage of both proximate and distant possibilities” (Yeung, 2009, 214). As a result, the activities of these entrepreneurs are territorially flexible and only shaped by their organizational capabilities and global reach (Feakins, 2017). Researchers have repeatedly called to study transnational entrepreneurship projects in the context of international business (Elo et al, 2018; Etemad, 2018) and generally to more diverse international entrepreneurship studies (Cavusgil & Knight, 2009; Keupp & Gassmann, 2009). Transnational entrepreneurs are able to build bridges between host and home countries and thus contribute to global economy development (Moore, 2016). Scholars underline the significant role of transnational entrepreneurs in facilitating trade and FDI and note that contribution of transnational entrepreneurs stems largely from the benefits of these entrepreneurs in cross-border transfers of knowledge and the recognition of international business opportunities (Stoyanov et al., 2018). 
Emergence of Covid-19 has substantially disrupted the foundations of everyday life, society and economy (Nummela et al., 2020). The globally connected world almost immediately became a stay-at-home economy (World Economic Forum, 2020, Nummela et al., 2020). International travel – particularly nonessential movements – remains and will highly likely persist challenging for some time in the future (Benton, 2020). “In a very real sense, the crisis has required humans to rethink space itself, including the socio-economic implications of space, quite literally down to the spaces occupied by individual human beings with the enactment of social distancing” (Korsgaard et al., 2020, 698). 
Transnational entrepreneurship is inevitably tied to the notions of migration and mobility. Scholars argue that it is not relevant to consider migration as a zero-sum game or as a war for talents. Migration does not always enhance entrepreneurial activity in one country at the expense of the other, it can instead positively influence the development of economic ties between countries, encourage entrepreneurial initiatives and knowledge exchange. In this case transnational entrepreneurs act as so-called "boundary spanners" (Barner-Rasmussen et al., 2014), in other words those are simultaneously as actors of a host country and a country of origin and through this they improve the relations and mutual activities of both groups. There is a stream of research that studies the ties of transnational entrepreneurs with their country of origin, it is that of transnational migration studies. This stream of research is relatively new and requires further thorough examination (Elo, 2019).
Russian-speaking entrepreneurs in Europe and in the whole world in general have been prominent economic players for several decades. They not only contribute to the GDP of countries where they are residents, but also maintain and develop trade and economic ties with Russia. In the academic literature, strategies for entering the foreign market, FDI and export activities of companies abroad are actively studied, but the issues of developing entrepreneurship among migrants, their economic ties with the country of origin and business strategies are scarcely studied. Existing studies on this issue are often considered by migrant entrepreneurs from China, India, Turkey or the Arab countries, while Russian-speaking entrepreneurs in Europe are among the leaders among all the migrants who founded their own businesses. Russian-speaking migrants entrepreneurs start their businesses too but there is a scarce knowledge on their motivation of entrepreneurial activities, resources and competitive advantages. Конкретная задача в рамках проблемы, на решение которой направлен проект, ее масштабThis research aims to investigate, which resources and capabilities are used by transnational entrepreneurs to build resilience in the light of the global disruptions such as political turmoil and a global pandemic. In order to achieve this goal, we set the following research objectives:1) To determine the impact of geopolitical tensions and pandemic of COVID-19 on the transnational entrepreneurial practices on transnational entrepreneurs. To do this, we intend:- To systematize the literature on the impact of turbulent environment on transnational entrepreneurship.- To study the transnational practices among Russian-speaking entrepreneurs.- To identify the features of the relationship of Russian-speaking entrepreneurs with the countries of origin of migrants
2) To reveal entrepreneur’s resources and capabilities that enhance the resilience to the external pressure - To systematize the literature on transnational entrepreneur’s resources and capabilities- To identify Russian-speaking entrepreneurs resources and capabilities Научная новизна поставленной задачи, обоснование достижимости решения поставленной задачи и возможности получения запланированных результатов
Transnational entrepreneurs is a subset of ethnic entrepreneurs, whose business success depends on the contacts and networks in another country, primarily in the country of their origin (Portes et al., 2002). Therefore, in the core of such business projects there are the trade and investment connections between the country of entrepreneur’s origin and the country of residence (Nkongolo-Bakenda & Chrysostome, 2013; Kerr & Kerr, 2016; Saxenian, 2002; Zhou, 2004). 
The growing political backlash against internationalization poses existential questions to international business research generally, and together with the global disruptions such as covid-19 pandemic are exogenous shocks that affect international activities (Lorenzen, Mudambi, Schotter, 2020). These restrictions led to the disruption of networks that enables companies and entrepreneurs obtain and exchange knowledge and innovate. Covid-19 pandemic illuminated on the critical importance of space in the global economic system whereas small and medium enterprises ended up as fragile and being exposed to existential risks (Korsgaard et al., 2020). 
The entrepreneurial activity of migrants is actively studied in the scientific community, but the context of Russia and post-Soviet countries and migrant entrepreneurs from these states receives little coverage in academic research.The complex task posed in this study seems achievable for a number of reasons. Firstly, the research team of the project has expertise in various fields of research on entrepreneurship, international strategies of firms in various industries and firm’s capabilities. Secondly, the international composition of the research team will allow us to study the phenomenon of transnational entrepreneurial strategies from different points of view, using the theoretical achievements of different research fields. Thirdly, the research team has already conducted a preliminary study on russian-speaking migrant entrepreneurs and published a working paper with first results. Moreover the process of data collection (interviews with transnational entrepreneurs) has been started and several interviews were done. Современное состояние исследований по данной проблемеGlobalization is associated with the widespread migration of people (Czincota, Khan, & Knight, 2021). The literature suggests that migrants are on average more likely to become entrepreneurs than native population and explains this fact mainly through (self)-selection processes. The immigration policy of many countries supports individuals with specific characteristics such as high level of education, business experience etc which are valuable for entrepreneurs. Moreover those who voluntarily move to another country may be positively self-selected, because they possess particular mindset and interests (Wood, 2018). Vandor & Franke (2016) propose different angle to look at the underlying reasons of migrant entrepreneurs. They argue that cross-cultural experience contributes to the development of individuals skills and knowledge which help them to identify entrepreneurial opportunities. The scholars (Vandor & Franke, 2016) proved that those who gained cross-cultural experience will more likely to identify profitable opportunities.
Besides selection and self-selection factors of migrant entrepreneurship researchers pay attention to institutional factors such as discrimination (Light, 1972); access to ethnic networks and markets (Aldrich & Waldinger, 1990) which further reassure immigrants to strike out on their own.
Different approaches existing within ethnic / migrant entrepreneurship are middleman minorities approach (Bonacich, 1973); disadvantage approach (Light & Gold, 2000); ethnic enclave economy approach (Wilson & Portes, 1980), interaction approach (Waldinger et al, 1990) and mix embeddedness approach (Kloosterman & Rath 2001).
Earlier studies of ethnic entrepreneurship were criticized for its narrow understanding of the phenomenon in connection to low socio-economic background of immigrants (Rath 2000; Pecoud 2010). Further the concept of ethnic entrepreneurship was replaced with that of immigrant entrepreneurship and brought in an institutional setting including state regulations and unemployment (Kloosterman, 2000). Thus ethnicity was considered only as one feature of the migrants, whereas other characteristics became focus of various studies: gender perspective (Hillman 1999; Kontos, 2003), transcultural perspective (Putz, 2004); multicultural (Pecoud, 2002) and transnational (Caglar, 2001) perspectives.
In migrant entrepreneurship stream scholars investigate why so many migrants engage in entrepreneurship (Aldrich and Waldinger, 1990; Busenitz and Lau, 1997; Light, 1972; Sanders and Nee, 1996). Expatriates research focuses on the effects of long-term international relocations of managers (Carpenter et al., 2001; Fee and Gray, 2012; Yamazaki and Kayes, 2004). And international entrepreneurship research examines the knowledge resources of new international ventures and their effects (Johanson and Vahlne, 1977, 2009; Oviatt and McDougall, 1994, 2005; Zahra and George, 2002) And entrepreneurial cognition research studies the role of knowledge in the identification of new business opportunities (Corbett, 2007; Shane, 2000; Shepherd and DeTienne, 2005).
Rodjers et al (2019) examined the role of social networks in sustaining migrant entrepreneurial journeys. The practice of using personal connections to gain ground or to bypass formal regulations has been recognized as a common social practice all around the world. The scholars attempted to critically evaluate the use of blat (informal personal connections in Russian speaking countries) by Eastern European migrants across transnational spaces. They studied how these migrants access, construct and maintain blat social networks in both in the UK and their home country. The study of Rodjers et al (2019) demonstrates how Russian speaking migrants transform the blat social networks across borders. They reveal how forms of social and cultural capital based on language and legacies of a shared Soviet past are important in facilitating entrepreneurial activity development.
The importance of social networks for migration entrepreneurship is well documented in the literature (Castles and Miller 2003; Faist and Ozveren 2004). However some scholars mark that the benefits of social networks are often overestimated (Vershinina et al, 2010), while others even point at the negative effects of social networks (Ram et al, 2008; Jones et al, 2014). The mix embeddedness approach tends to contextualize embedded migrant entrepreneurs in co-ethnic networks within broader social, political and economic space in the host country (Kloosterman 2010; Ram et al, 2008). Therefore mix embeddedness approach emphasize the need to consider not only ethnic strategies but also personal strategies within specific economic, social and regulatory environment.
The research on transnational entrepreneurship highlights the continuing importance of the home country in the activities of these entrepreneurs. This phenomenon was studied within growing research stream on migrants transnational economic practices (McKenzie and Menjivar, 2011; Walther 2012; Wilding 2006).
Covid-19 pandemic has posed serious questions to the international activities of entrepreneurial firms, erecting barriers on the way of the international expansion (Zahra, 2021). In order to overcome the challenges that emerged on the agenda of transnational entrepreneurs, they have to possess the appropriate knowledge, capabilities and strategies (Knight & Cavusgil, 2004; Hymer, 1976).
The resource-based view is one of the leading theoretical lenses of international business that illuminates on how having the appropriate resources can be crucial factor of organizational capabilities and performance (e.g., Barney, 1991; Grant, 1996; Wernerfelt, 1984). Resources are especially important for firms in uncertain and risky environments where they provide firms with the basis for strategy formulation (Grant, 1996). The essential resources are valuable, rare, inimitable and non-substitutable (Barney, 1991). Using these, firms can enhance competitive advantages and succeed (Barney, 1991). Knowledge is the crucial resource and integration of valuable specialized knowledge is in the core of organizational capabilities (Dierickx & Cool, 1989). Knowledge is considered as a capacity to use relationships among informal factors to reach the goals that are set (Czinkota et al., 2021). Предлагаемые методы и подходы, общий план работы на весь срок выполнения проекта
Step 1. The impact of geopolitical tensions and pandemic of COVID-19 on the transnational entrepreneurial practices of Russian-speaking migrantsSystematization of literature on the impact of environmental turbulence on the transnational entrepreneurial practices of Russian-speaking migrants. Identification of the results of empirical studies. Methodology - systematic literature review. Step 2. Identification of entrepreneur’s resources and capabilities that enhance the resilience to the external pressure. Methodology: interview-based study Data collection. Creating a database of Russian-speaking entrepreneurs who are related to transnational entrepreneurs. Preparation of questions for interviews based on the literature studied. Conducting a series of interviews with Russian-speaking entrepreneurs engaged in transnational business activities (planned number of interviews: 15-20). Processing interview materials, case analysis. Имеющийся у коллектива исполнителей научный задел по проекту (в данном пункте заполняется текстовое описание задела): Соответствующие имеющиеся публикации указываются в п.2.1.15.Members of the research team have expertise and knowledge in the variety of areas that build the basis for this research, primarily these are international entrepreneurship (Rissanen, Ermolaeva, Saarenketo, Torkkeli, Ahi, 2020; Kokoulina, Ermolaeva, Ritala, Patala, 2019; Laskovaia, Marino, Shirokova, Wales, 2019; Laskovaia, Shirokova, Morris, 2017; Beliaeva, Laskovaia, Shirokova, 2017), international business (Panibratov& Klishevich, 2020; Panibratov&Klishevich, 2021), knowledge transfer, innovation, and capabilities (Freixanet&Renart, 2020; Freixanet, Rialp, Churakova, 2019; Freixanet, 2014). These results create a substantial foundation to develop and enhance the presented topic. 1. A number of scientific articles have been published in the journals of the RSCI list, as well as in journals indexed in Scopus and WoS, and this adds to the importance of the topic we aim to study (publications are listed in p. 2.1.15):Six papers (in English) have been published (indexed by Scopus and listed in the ABS; and indexed by the RSCI):
L Ermolaeva, J Freixanet, A Panibratov. 2019. The role of absorptive capacity in the relationship between firm internationalization and innovation: evidence from Russia, Journal of East European Management Studies, 23 (4), 621-641b.
Rissanen, T., Ermolaeva, L., Saarenketo, T., Torkkeli, L., Ahi, M. 2020. The role of home market context in business model change in internationalizing SMEs. European Business Review (forthcoming).c.
Kokoulina, L., Ermolaeva, L., Ritala, P., Patala, S. 2019. Championing processes and the emergence of industrial symbiosis, Regional Studies, 53(4), 528-539. DOI: 10.1080/00343404.2018.1473568d. 
Freixanet, J., Renart, G. 2020. A capabilities perspective on the joint effects of internationalization time, speed, geographic scope and managers’ competencies on SME survival, Journal of World Business, 55 (6) e. 
Freixanet, J., Rialp, A., Churakova, I. (2019) How do Innovation, Internationalization, and Organizational Learning Interact and Co-evolve in Small Firms? A Complex Systems Approach, Journal of Small Business Management, f. 
Beliaeva T., Laskovaia A., Shirokova G. 2017. Entrepreneurial learning and entrepreneurial intentions: A cross-cultural study of university students. European Journal of International Management, 11(5): 606-631.2. 
A working paper has been prepared and published in the Series of the Centre for German and European Studies at SPbSU:Elo, M., Ermolaeva, L., Ivanova-Gongne, M., Klishevich, D. (2020). Strategies of Russian-Speaking Migrant Entrepreneurs in Germany: Preliminary Results of the Study. Working papers of the Centre for German and European Studies (CGES) #7,1-25. Available at: (accessed 19 April 2021).
3. A number of papers on the topic have been presented at international conferences: annual meetings of the Academy of International Business (AIB) and European International Business Academy (EIBA), the international research conference "GSOM Emerging Markets Conference" and others. Детальный план работы на весь период выполнения проекта1. Systematic literature review: We systematize the literature on the impact of turbulent environment on transnational entrepreneurship.2. Literature review. We analyze existing studies on Russian-speaking entrepreneurs abroad and we identify specific features of Russian-speaking entrepreneurs 3. Developing a qualitative research design based on the interviews with transnational entrepreneurs. We prepare questions for the interview relying on the literature and theoretical ground. We conduct pilot interviews with transnational entrepreneurs and improve our interview guide.4. Theoretical framework development. We develop theoretical underpinning of our study based on the literature and pilot study. 5. Data collection. We conduct a series of interviews with transnational entrepreneurs (25-30 interviews)6. Data analysis and propositions development. We analyze the interviews by using software (Sonix, Nvido), develop propositions based on our findings and theoretical ground.7. Results presentation. We prepare one working paper for further presentations at leading international conferences (Strategic Management Society, European International Business Academy, GSOM Emerging market conferece). We prepare one paper for publication in academic journal ranked in ABS list (International Business Research, Journal of Business Venturing are among chosen journals) and one paper for publication in academic journal indexed by Russian Academy of Science. We also organize two research seminars for presentation of our results and broader discussion with academic and professional community in GSOM.
Короткий заголовокentrepreneurship
Действительная дата начала/окончания15/06/211/06/22

Ключевые слова

  • transnational entrepreneurship
  • Russian-speaking entrepreneurs
  • pandemic COVID 19
  • geopolitical turbulence