Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify and analyze resources and capabilities that distinguish between traditional, slow born‐global and rapid born‐global micro‐firms. Design/methodology/approach – The study uses multiple case study methodology. Three case studies are presented to compare the internationalization pathways of three French micro‐firms. Findings – The paper emphasizes the importance of leveraging between internal and external resources for rapid internationalization of micro‐firms. The rapid internationalization is driving and facilitated by managerial abilities, innovation and network. The study shows that analysis of micro‐firms in terms of resources and capabilities enhances the understanding of internationalization. Research limitations/implications – Because it is limited to three case studies, the generalization of findings to a broad sample of French micro‐firms will be needed. Practical implications – The research suggests that two‐level analysis (i.e. individual level and micro‐firm level) should be considered when examining rapid internationalization. Micro‐firm top managers need to be aware of the importance of developing internal resources to facilitate incorporation of new external resources. Their experience and expertise in addition to the micro‐firm's innovation capacity or reputation can be used to expand rapidly abroad. Originality/value – The distinction between traditional, slow born‐global and rapid born‐global French micro‐firms in terms of resources and capabilities makes this study original.
Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 17, 2011
Keywords: France; Business development; Small enterprises; International business
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