The local roots of global entrepreneurship: Insights from Stephen Young

Shameen Prashantham (First Author), Julian Birkinshaw (Participant Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal


A contemporary challenge for the international business (IB) field is to maintain a link between the global activity of firms and the local concerns of regions and communities. In this essay, we reflect on how the IB scholarship of the late Stephen Young, which was embedded in (but not confined to) Scotland, offers valuable insight into how this might be done. With an overarching interest in the role of IB in economic development, the common thread in his work on multinational enterprise (MNE) subsidiaries and internationalizing small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is the significance of locally relevant entrepreneurial behavior in internationalized firms, which we refer to as "the local roots of global entrepreneurship". We highlight three facets of his work: (1) the scholarly approach, which was sustained, engaged, and broad-based, (2) the conceptual ideas around the purpose, process and people involved in MNEs and SMEs, and (3) the resonance of these ideas with contemporary IB topics. Our analysis indicates that the emergent body of work on cooperation between MNEs and SMEs (especially new ventures) constitutes an extension and integration of Young's IB scholarship. An overall implication of our essay is that perhaps, counterintuitively, the future interests of IB research may be served well by paying closer attention to one's own backyard.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)950-961
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of International Business Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Corresponding author email


  • multinational enterprise (MNE)
  • entrepreneurship
  • local-global tension
  • MNE subsidiary
  • SME
  • new venture
  • MNE-SME cooperation

Indexed by

  • SSCI
  • Scopus
  • ABDC-A*
  • FT


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