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Trading Places – SMEs in the Global Economy

A Critical Research Handbook

Edited by Lester Lloyd-Reason and Leigh Sear

Lester Lloyd-Reason and Leigh Sear bring together leading researchers and thinkers in this critical guide to the ongoing, worldwide research shaping the role played by SMEs within today’s global economy. The expert contributors contend that the past twenty years have seen an explosion in research into international SMEs, resulting in a considerable body of academic literature and thinking. This research, they argue, may merely serve to increase our lack of understanding in this area, and often results in myths and misconceptions upon which SME policies and support programmes have been developed and introduced.
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Chapter 8: Skills and Knowledge Needs of the Global SME

Terry Mughan and Lester Lloyd-Reason


Terry Mughan and Lester Lloyd-Reason Introduction The aim of the chapter is to advance understanding of the internal and external factors which make some small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) successful in international markets. Particular attention is paid to global skills and knowledge development that can be made transferable across business sectors via educational and consulting programmes. The ability to learn is becoming increasingly important in the global economy as SMEs are exposed to greater competition from international rivals in domestic markets and are needing to source materials and clients in overseas markets in order to survive and prosper. This imperative is however a difficult one to respond to for organisations with limited financial and human resources. The classical model whereby governments provide a range of services to help offset these disadvantages is an important element of the SME landscape and has to be considered when assessing company behaviour and options and market conditions. We will propose a model of support intervention which we believe is suited to the global trading and learning environment. In this chapter we will build upon the resource-based view (RBV) as well as the process theory in international business (IB) to provide valuable insights into the company experience of internationalised SMEs and propose the conceptual model of ‘planning, manning and scanning’ as the key to performance building. We will draw upon the key findings and issues emerging from an 18-month research project to identify the processes, skills and knowledge which characterised the set of...

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