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With growing international business, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been faced with increased competition, but also with enhanced opportunities. Edith Olejnik addresses four major issues within the context of SMEs’ internationalization process: First, she identifies the three different internationalization patterns that SMEs take and analyzes how these patterns develop over time. Second, she looks at dynamic changes of foreign operation modes and the managerial reasons for these changes. Third, she derives an empirical classification of smaller family firms and profiles them using a comprehensive set of organizational variables. Fourth, she investigates the relationship between firm-level processes and dynamic capabilities in driving the international performance of SMEs. Based on theoretical considerations and empirical analyses this work provides important implications for research and management practice.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

A. Introduction

Abstract
This study focuses on international small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and their internationalization process. This field of research has gained prominence since the end of the twentieth century. With the internationalization of markets and the expansion of the trade environment, SMEs have been faced with increased competition, but also with increased opportunities. This changed reality has opened up many interesting research fields analyzing international SME.
Edith Olejnik

B. Study 1: SMEs’ Internationalization Patterns: Descriptives, Dynamics and Determinants

Abstract
Since the middle of the twentieth century, the world has witnessed a rapid internationalization of markets, industries and firms. This development has been reflected by the growing number of conceptual and empirical studies on international marketing and international entrepreneurship, among other areas. Although many theoretical frameworks exist, internationalization still poses a critical challenge, particularly for SMEs (Moen 2002; Jones and Coviello 2005).
Edith Olejnik

C. Study 2: Changes in Foreign Operation Modes: Stimuli for Increases versus Reductions

Abstract
While the choice of an appropriate entry mode is a crucial decision when companies enter a foreign country, they have no guarantee that this mode will remain the best way of servicing the particular market. Scholars showed an initial entry mode may persist (Rosson and Ford 1982), mode combinations may be build (Petersen and Welch 2002), but the initial mode may as well be replaced by another one (Pedersen, Petersen and Benito 2002). Changes of operation modes are important decisions as they concern companies’ institutional arrangements that define the business framework of the activities in a country. Moreover, as we previously discussed, operation mode changes also relate to the internationalization pattern of SMEs.
Edith Olejnik

D. Study 3: A Taxonomy of Small and Medium-sized International Family Firms

Abstract
This study investigates the linkage between the culture of family firms in terms of the organizational orientation, their strategy in terms of differentiation, cost leadership and marketing standardization and their structure in terms of integration, centralization and specialization. We discuss these factors and develop a taxonomy of small and medium-sized internationalized family firms. Family firms are a particularly interesting and distinctive group to research because these firms combine ownership and management (Gallo and Sveen 1991), have a strong organizational culture that fosters trust and tradition (Aronoff and Ward 1995) and differ from non-family firms with regard to internationalization (Fernández and Nieto 2006). Moreover, family firms comprise most of the world’s companies (Ibrahim, Angelidis and Parsa 2008). Indeed, some of the most successful and largest companies in the world are family firms.
Edith Olejnik

E. Study 4: Linking Processes and Dynamic Capabilities of International SMEs: The Mediating Effect of International Entrepreneurial Orientation

Abstract
Internationalization research has highlighted the role of knowledge and learning in the internationalization process of both multinational enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (Johanson and Vahlne 1977). Exploring, analyzing and planning international activities can create knowledge and therefore serve as a critical factor in successfully internationalizing firms (Knight and Liesch 2002; McGee and Sawyerr 2003). While this argumentation is theoretically reasonable, empirical studies have shown inconsistent results. Seringhaus (1993) stressed the importance of information for SMEs, whereas Li, Li and Dalgic (2004) showed that SMEs tend to follow an unsystematic decision-making process.
Edith Olejnik

F. Final Remarks

Abstract
SME internationalization is an important topic and a complex research issue. SMEs distinguish themselves from larger firms and exhibit particularities that also influence their internationalization process. Small firms are nimbler, more flexible and can better adapt to changing circumstances than their larger counterparts (Rosenbusch, Brinckmann and Bausch 2011; Li, Qian and Qian 2012). They have different structures, apply different processes and differ with regard to their organizational culture and entrepreneurial orientation. But SMEs also lack knowledge, resources and experience as compared to MNEs (Mudambi and Zahra 2007). When smaller firms consider internationalizing, they face not only the liability of foreignness, but also the liability of smallness (Lu and Beamish 2001).
Edith Olejnik

Backmatter

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