The Effects of a Politico-Economic Paradigm Shift
Edited by Mai Thi Thanh Thai and Ekaterina Turkina
Chapter 12: Globalization, internationalization and the entrepreneurial responses of Tunisian clothing firms
The purpose of this chapter is to examine internationalization within the context of globalization. We argue that internationalization, especially of small firms, is highly dependent on national context. For example, firms may internationalize to take advantage of local conditions such as lower wages. Conversely, they may choose to internationalize because of deterioration in local markets. Accordingly, we see internationalization not as a universal process, but one that is contingent on local processes. Moreover, national processes themselves are contingent on the effects of globalization. We argue that to fully understand examples of internationalization as practice, we also have to take account of the uneven effects of globalization. Reflecting this overview of context and contingency, we aim to describe and attempt to understand the internationalization of small Tunisian clothing manufacturers at three different levels. First, we briefly look at globalization in its historical context. We analyse different rounds of globalization. We then examine the effects, and how the nature of competitive advantage changes. Finally, we examine the responses of these small firms. Here we are especially interested in their 'entrepreneurial orientation' (EO). We believe that EO is not only a key ingredient of a firm's success (Thai and Chong, 2008), but it also serves as an indicator of proactive internationalization action. Firms with a high level of EO are those whose practices are most able to deal with globalization.
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