A Critical Research Handbook
Elgar original reference
Edited by Lester Lloyd-Reason and Leigh Sear
Lester Lloyd-Reason and Leigh Sear Why is this book needed? The past 20 years have seen an explosion in research into the role of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) within a global context which has resulted in a considerable body of academic literature and thinking. In part, interest in this area of research has been stimulated by the growing debate on globalisation, its impact on the development of SMEs and the entrepreneurial response required by businesses to deal with increased competition (Ibeh, 2000). A critical review of this literature however, raises a number of issues in terms of the impact and usefulness of this body of understanding for diﬀerent stakeholders and groups involved in understanding and supporting SMEs within a global context. For example, both Julien et al. (1997) and Sear and Hamilton (2003) question whether this mass of research activity and published material has aﬀorded a clearer view of the key issues surrounding the internationalisation of the SME. The current body of evidence may, in fact, simply serve to increase our lack of understanding in this area and has resulted in the formation of several myths and misconceptions upon which a number of policies and programmes of support for SMEs have been developed and introduced. For example, within the majority of developed market economies, internationalisation is still primarily deﬁned by the policy community as exporting. In addition, the academic propensity to create problems, models and theories has led to a tendency to conceptualise the experiences...