Purpose: A new case study of accelerated internationalization (AI) shows that in only two years, Saudi telecom (STC) entered markets across the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Managerial analysis identifies reasons for success while questioning strategic choices and their implications. Theory-driven analysis reviews STC's experience in light of selected theories and frameworks. This case is also intended for teaching purposes. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach: Responding to Welch et al.'s call, the authors use "interpretive sense-making" and "contextualized explanation" and highlight environmental context in the case study development. The authors review case-based research, explain data collection problems, present managerial and theoretical analyses of the case, discuss the findings relative to the literature, and suggest directions for research. Findings: Case analysis reveals STC's focus on global portfolio development as a driver of AI. Theoretical analysis confirms the psychic distance construct and its paradox, as well as the notion of epochs of internationalization while warning that the path and stages models of internationalization are at odds with AI. The authors call for a contingency view of the resource-based view as a function of context. Research limitations/implications: Limitations arise from the use of secondary data for case development because direct access to this Saudi company was not feasible. Practical implications: AI is popular among wealthy Gulf telecoms ambitious for growth. Regional competition in the Gulf is characterized by copycat and follow-the-leader strategies which preclude elaboration of unique, inimitable or non-substitutable assets, resources or capabilities. Originality/value: This innovative approach to case development provides a rich database for probing analyses of managerial and theoretical implications of AI in a Gulf-based company.
- Saudi Arabia
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