Chapter 32: Internationalization of European Entrepreneurs
32 Internationalization of European entrepreneurs Léo-Paul Dana, Isa Welpe, Vanessa Ratten and Mary Han This entry compares internationalization experiences in various European countries. Based on empirical studies conducted in 36 countries, we propose an extension of current theory with regard to small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) internationalization in Europe. We develop a process model to explain the moderating and mediating influences on SME internationalization in various economies in Europe. 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 et al., 1999). 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 USA, Japan or on individual European countries. Comparative, regional research on SMEs in Europe is still emerging. 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 the UK). 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 for foreign direct investment (FDI) and export. Indeed, the European Union (EU) is the world’s second largest economy by gross domestic product (GDP) (see note to Table 32.1)...
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