Edited by Léo-Paul Dana
* Léo-Paul Dana and Richard W. Wright The global business environment is changing dramatically. Traditionally competition in international markets was the realm of large companies, while smaller businesses remained local or regional in scope. However the removal of government-imposed barriers that segregated and protected domestic markets, and recent technological advances in manufacturing, transportation and telecommunications allow even the smallest ﬁrms access to customers, suppliers and collaborators around the world. Small companies and/or entrepreneurial enterprises, both domestically and internationally, are increasingly fuelling economic growth and innovation. Reynolds (1997) noted that the recent expansion of markets has not been associated with an expanded role for larger ﬁrms. Instead, smaller ﬁrms are ﬁlling niche roles (Buckley, 1997). Globalization is having a dramatic impact on the opportunities and challenges facing small businesses. Two changes, in particular, are revolutionizing the management policies and competitive strategies of large and small ﬁrms alike. One is the demise of the nation-state as the primary macroeconomic player, or the principal unit around which international economic activity is organized and conducted. The other is the demise of the standalone ﬁrm as the primary microeconomic player, or the basic unit of competition. We will elaborate in this chapter on each of these transformations, and then discuss their particular impact on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Demise of the nation-state as the primary macroeconomic player For centuries, the nation-state was the basic unit around which international economic activity was planned, organized and conducted, regardless of the origin of ﬁrms. Even business activities...
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