Trading Places – SMEs in the Global Economy

Trading Places – SMEs in the Global Economy

A Critical Research Handbook

Elgar original reference

Edited by Lester Lloyd-Reason and Leigh Sear

Lester Lloyd-Reason and Leigh Sear bring together leading researchers and thinkers in this critical guide to the ongoing, worldwide research shaping the role played by SMEs within today’s global economy. The expert contributors contend that the past twenty years have seen an explosion in research into international SMEs, resulting in a considerable body of academic literature and thinking. This research, they argue, may merely serve to increase our lack of understanding in this area, and often results in myths and misconceptions upon which SME policies and support programmes have been developed and introduced.

Chapter 10: The Choreography of Internationalisation: Innovative Forms of Learning and Activities of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in International Markets

Jay Mitra

Subjects: business and management, critical management studies, entrepreneurship, international business


Jay Mitra Introduction The successful internationalisation of small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) is a function of their learning process and environments. Based on this hypothesis, this chapter examines a range of theoretical models and some empirical evidence to identify the modes, forms and methods of learning adopted by SMEs as they enter and grow in an international business environment. Learning for internationalisation operates at various levels. Individual entrepreneurs bring to bear their own knowledge and experience, growing firms accumulate knowledge and skills with which to interact with international partners, and the environment in which firms operate also opens up opportunities for learning. Various forms of learning (such as ‘imitating’ by ‘doing’, or ‘interacting’ by ‘clustering’) enable identification of opportunities for innovation and their realisation. In the international environment firms take different routes to enter and operate in unfamiliar territory. How they reduce uncertainties in such territory is the basis of new product, service and business development, together with changes to organisational forms necessary for sustaining these developments. Using the metaphor of the theatre, this chapter explores different forms of learning at multiple levels of individual, organisational and pan-organisational effort. Consideration of each of these levels of learning yields five sets of propositions. Taken together, these propositions offer a framework for analysing how firms internationalise and why they adopt different strategies for engaging in the international market. The chapter identifies complex forms of learning associated with SME internationalisation strategies and actions, and ends with...

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