Towards a Theory of Internationalization
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Edited by Léo-Paul Dana, Isabell M. Welpe, Mary Han and Vanessa Ratten
Chapter 42: Towards a theory of internationalization for European Entrepreneurship
Léo-Paul Dana, Mary Han, Vanessa Ratten and Isabell M. Welpe Why is it important to understand SME internationalization in Europe? It has been said that, in today’s economy, there is no such thing as international business and management, since all business and management activity today involves international activities. Internationalization therefore has become an integral part of any commercial activity and it is diﬃcult to ﬁnd any country or company in the world that is not engaged in some form of international business. So far, there have been many studies on the globalization strategies of large ﬁrms and multinational enterprises but until recently SMEs have been overlooked in the literature to date (Dana, Etemad and Wright, 1999b). Prior research on SMEs tends to concentrate on their impact on domestic economic growth and the few extant studies of SME internationalization are focused on the United States and Japan or on individual European countries. Comparative, regional research on SMEs in Europe is still rare. We set our research in Europe for several reasons. First, Europe is a unique agglomeration of countries within the world. Its countries are diverse in size, political background and economic development. Europe has both island economies and transition economies and its developed economies range from the very small (for example, Vatican City) to the very powerful (for example, United Kingdom). Moreover, Europe is inﬂuenced by the two major world trade networks, the European Union (EU) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), so there are many opportunities...
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