The internationalisation of small‐ to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) is considered in the context of the overall configuration of strategy in these firms. This paper is based on in‐depth case studies of the internationalisation path of ten small‐ to medium‐sized manufacturing firms in New Zealand. Two distinct paths are identified, one of global, the other of regional scope. These are argued to be the product of two distinct configurations of strategy, requiring different choices in product and market scope, mode of market development, and location of manufacturing. The patterns of internationalisation produced by these configurations are in some respects at variance with the predictions of stages models of internationalisation derived from larger enterprises and economies. The influence of these configurations and the characteristics of SMEs in particular those of the decision maker on the pace of internationalisation are also considered. A conceptual model is developed from the findings of this study by integrating internationalisation theories and SME characteristics.
European Journal of Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 1, 2003
Keywords: Internationalization; Strategy; Small‐ to medium‐sized enterprises; Export; New Zealand
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