Towards a Theory of Internationalization
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Edited by Léo-Paul Dana, Isabell M. Welpe, Mary Han and Vanessa Ratten
Chapter 4: Trust-based Cooperation as Driver for the Internationalization of SMEs: Empirical Evidence from Austria
Matthias Fink and Slawomir Teodorowicz Austria is one of the economically most successful nations of Western Europe, and its small business sector has been of academic interest (Dana, 1992). Even though its economic growth of 2.2 per cent of the GDP in 2005 seems quite moderate and lies only slightly above the EU25 average (2 per cent) (Austrian Economic Chambers, 2005), Austria still remains within the top nations if other current economic indicators are considered. Especially in comparison with other European countries, Austria does rather well and is situated above the average. Austria’s unemployment rate of 4.5 per cent is the lowest in the EU25 region and lies clearly below the EU25 average of 9 per cent (Austrian Economic Chambers, 2005). Additionally, with 27 100 Euros, Austria has one of the highest GDP per capita worldwide. Thus, within the EU25, Austria ranks fourth behind Luxembourg, Ireland and Denmark (Austrian Economic Chambers, 2005). The economic structure of Austria is decisively characterized by SMEs, with 99.5 per cent of Austrian enterprises being SMEs. They provide about 65 per cent of all jobs and generate approximately 58 per cent of total turnover. Compared to the EU average, the emphasis lies on small and medium enterprises and not on smallest, or on large-scale enterprises (Pichler and Bornett 2005; Mugler 1999). Austria as an international player Austria’s performance abroad Like many national economies with a rather small domestic market (Rundh, 2001), Austria heavily relies on foreign trade. Consequently, Austria’s export rate of 51.1 per cent...
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