Faculty Research Fellows
Lavin Center Affiliated Faculty
Dr. John Francis
Lavin Center Research Fellow
John Francis is an assistant professor of management for the College of Business Administration at San Diego State University, he teaches International Management, Business Policy and Strategy, and Entrepreneurship. Prior to coming to SDSU, Dr. Francis taught at Iona College, located in the New York City area, and at Mississippi College and the University of Memphis. He graduated with his bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Montevallo in Alabama, received his MBA from Samford University in Alabama, and his Ph.D. from the University of Memphis.
His work experience includes positions in project management and financial analysis for BE&K Inc. and Rust International, two international engineering and construction firms. Dr. Francis also spent three years doing research and program development for the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) at The University of Memphis. Francis has published several peer-reviewed articles and has spoken at numerous international conferences. His research focuses primarily on turnaround strategies for declining firms, international mergers and acquisitions, and foreign market entry strategies.
The emergence of unprecedented numbers of international new ventures (INVs) at inception is a relatively new phenomenon. INVs have been defined as having a significant percentage of revenues and activities almost immediately at their time of founding. The international arena once thought to be off limits to new firms is now becoming not only a strategic option for some, but even a strategic necessity. There are several criteria leading to the success of an INV. This study focuses on the importance of networking factors and the social competence of the entrepreneur as they develop and grow their businesses. More specifically, the research seeks to develop and test a model of network development within the context of entrepreneurial service firms. The research will also be extended by examining the relationship between these predictors and firm performance.
On becoming interested in this particular topic:
My original interest in this topic came about from having a friend in New York look into developing a real estate project in Europe. Originally his venture focused on a development in the south of Spain, but quickly shifted to Warsaw, Poland when an opportunity arose. Over a three year period as his venture went forward, I was intrigued by the success of his project even when he had no language or cultural skills relating to starting a business in Poland. In addition he had very few Polish contacts prior to starting the venture. What I came to learn was that through personality and networking abilities he was able to develop a team of local contacts that allowed him to implement his strategies. My research plan is to study ventures such as this where there is a lack of real knowledge about the international context, but that local market skills are critical.
What are the implications of this work for the regional (or other) entrepreneurial community?
There are an increasing number of firms in San Diego and Southern California competing in global industries, including bio-tech, pharmaceuticals, high tech, and tourism. For the startups in these industries, many have a high degree of technical competence, but lack the resources or knowledge for growing their firms internationally. My study plans to shed light on how a new venture can take advantage of international opportunities even when there is a lack of language or cultural knowledge by the entrepreneur or the firm. The study plans to provide useful insight into the specific networking mechanisms that a firm can use to help develop appropriate resources.