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Rapid internationalization of Small-Medium Enterprises: unanticipated evolution from local-oriented to effective international players


The present research focuses on achieving a deeper understanding of how European entrepreneurs can speed up the internationalisation process and, therefore, improve the performance of their (often resource constrained) SMEs.
From the field experience and recent international entrepreneurship literature, it emerges that often entrepreneurs adopt “unexpected” lines of reasoning and adapt to changing environmental circumstances by combining networking, resource based analysis and serendipity, resulting in “unplanned” internationalization. They manage to accelerate effectively the internatioanlisation process despite a limited international experience, lack of information on the host market, and lack of international experience. This specific internationalisation process is important as it rapidly transforms a local-oriented SMEs, to becoming effective player on an international level (in such a way that it can firmly compete in spite of increasing global competition). In this project, the fellow focuses on three objectives. The first objective aims at exploring the consequence of adopting “unexpected” entrepreneurial decision-making on the speed of the internationalisation
process itself. The second objective aims at exploring what type of internal change is involved in the “unplanned” internationalisation process and what capabilities are required to manage it. The final objective aims at developing and testing a model based on the outcomes of the previous objectives. The model will put in relation the effects of organisational structure and capabilities with firm’s domestic and international performance and will analyse the moderating influence of entrepreneurial orientation. The first two parts of the research are of explorative nature and, therefore, will adopt a qualitative research method; whereas the third part is of a theory testing nature and, therefore, will adopt a quantitative research method.

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Woodhouse Lane
LS2 9JT Leeds
United Kingdom

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Benjamin Williams (Mr.)
EU contribution
€ 221 606,40