Towards a Theory of Internationalization
Edited by Léo-Paul Dana, Isabell M. Welpe, Mary Han and Vanessa Ratten
Chapter 7: Internationalization of SMEs in Bosnia and Herzegovina
William R. Pendergast, Mugdim Pasic and Aziz Sunje Introduction This chapter presents a case study of a successfully internationalized small and mediumsized enterprise (SME1) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH). The chapter begins with a brief description of recent BH history, its industrial structure and the role of SMEs, and an overview of BH integration into the global economy. This material provides the backdrop for a detailed case study of Vegafruit, a medium-sized company in the food processing industry. The chapter concludes with a discussion that relates the foregoing material to prevailing hypotheses about the internationalization process. A Balkan story BH presents a context for the study of SME internationalization that suggests the culturebound nature of some academic literature that has focused on internationalization as a gradual, sequential process by ﬁrms that choose an explicit, strategic path of growth through international activity (Johanson and Vahlne, 1977, 1990, 2003). More recent attention has focused on ‘born international’ companies that short-circuit the gradualist sequence and have international markets or sources from inception (Oviatt and McDougall, 1994, 1997). Unlike the sequential and gradualist paradigm of internationalization, both large ﬁrms and SMEs in Former Yugoslavia (FY) experienced a ‘Big Bang’ internationalization with the collapse of the country. In April 1992, BH declared its independence. BH companies that had operated domestically within FY suddenly found themselves ‘international’ as a result of exogenous political events that severed them from their domestic markets and operating units. In the context of Balkan politics, however, this did not mean they...
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