Evidence from Around the World
Edited by Marian V. Jones, Pavlos Dimitratos, Margaret Fletcher and Stephen Young
Chapter 3: Exploring Opportunity Creation in Internationalizing SMEs: Evidence from Scottish Firms
Lucrezia Casulli SUMMARY The chapter investigates empirically how opportunities for internationalization arise in internationalizing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Specifically, it looks at the role of experience and networks as antecedents to the process of opportunity recognition of internationalizing Scottish SMEs. The aim is to contribute to the international entrepreneurship literature by exploring the relatively under-researched issue of international opportunity creation (Zahra and George, 2002b). To achieve this aim, the study draws on both entrepreneurship and internationalization literatures to review briefly relevant work on experience and networks, linking those to the entrepreneurship literature on the opportunity recognition process. A theoretical framework is developed which identifies experience- and network-based antecedents and dimensions of the international opportunity concept. The empirical component of the study comprises semi-structured interviews with managing directors (MDs) of nine internationalizing Scottish SMEs. Firms participating in the study had previously completed a programme tailored to internationalizing SMEs with growth potential, namely, the Global Companies Development Programme (GCDP), funded and run by Scottish Enterprise. Findings show that the international opportunity process is multistage, including both network-based and ‘solo’ instances of opportunity creation. Antecedents to international opportunity are not separated in time from the process of international opportunity creation; on the contrary, they are an integral part of the process. INTRODUCTION How do opportunities for internationalization arise in small and mediumsized enterprises? And what are the elements influencing the creation of such 20 Opportunity creation in internationalizing SMEs 21 Opportunity identiﬁcation Opportunity exploitation Source: Adapted from Shane (2000). Figure 3.1...
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