Research Group International Business

Cooperating effectively within international alliances

The International Business research group focusses on the implementation of internationalisation. Its research is aimed at improving the success of sustainable Born Globals by alleviating the main obstacles associated with alliance management. This research group is part of the Centre of Expertise for Sustainable Business.

Born Globals

Born Globals are young companies that operate highly internationally, almost from the start, and are dealing with sustainability challenges. Born Globals have a set of favourable characteristics: a global vision at the start, unique products with a global market potential and fast and flexible operations instead of following the traditional step-by-step internationalisation process.

Having limited resources, they are eager to learn and to cooperate in order to gain access to knowledge, markets and finance. The OECD has concluded that small and medium-sized enterprises participate increasingly in global value chains.


At implementation, people make the difference. Excellent teams can make a success of mediocre strategies or products, whereas underperforming individuals or teams will definitely not win a competitive battle. Venture capitalists who decide whether or not to take an equity stake in a new venture rely primarily on their judgment of the quality of the entrepreneur and his team. Only if they are to be trusted, will a business plan be considered. First the man, then the plan.

Research themes

We study best practices and essential competencies for Born Globals in so-called communities of practice. Our research is divided into the following themes:

  • the ‘global mindset’ of international entrepreneurs. This is about behavioural styles, sustainability values, emotional intelligence, the paradox between trust and control
  • leadership and cooperation of international teams
  • creative problem-solving of international teams
  • international technology transfer
  • scalable and agile business models.

This research group is covering themes as: 

  • international alliance management (e.g. partner choice, long term cooperation);
  • development of cross cultural competences (negotiating, creative problem solving within international teams);
  • new circular business models (clusters, networks, ecosystems)
  • converting waste into valuable resources
  • technology transfer & open innovation; 
  • internationalisation of social enterprises; 
  • cosmopolitan mindset and growth of sustainable business.


In the programme, we develop:

  • new knowledge concerning internationalisation competencies of young companies
  • new educational and management development tools. These include the Born Global Alliance Scan, used to analyse critical success factors for further internationalisation within partnerships.