Towards a Theory of Internationalization
Edited by Léo-Paul Dana, Isabell M. Welpe, Mary Han and Vanessa Ratten
Chapter 24: The Path to the Internationalization of Lithuanian Manufacturing SMEs
Audra I. Mockaitis Introduction Much has been written about the internationalization activities of multinational ﬁrms, and much attention in the literature has been given to the internationalization decisions of ﬁrms entering the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region. However, we still know relatively little about the internationalization activities of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially manufacturing SMEs in the CEE region. With the enlargement of the European Union, at ﬁrst glance it appears that many small and medium-sized ﬁrms now have greater opportunity for internationalizing their activities. Although it is generally held that SMEs have the ﬂexibility and ability to adapt to their environment more quickly than large enterprises, SMEs must be able to use these advantages in internationalizing. This study looks at the internationalization activities of Lithuanian manufacturing SMEs. It seeks to provide a comprehensive overview of internationalization, through an examination of the degree and direction of internationalization and on what this depends. The results lend some support to incremental internationalization models. Although many SMEs in this study are not actively engaged in internationalization, most companies heavily rely on networks, which they may use as stepping-stones to foreign markets in the future. It is well known that SMEs are the most important drivers of the European Union (EU) economy, with their share comprising over 99 per cent of all European ﬁrms. And, while we remember the traditional enterprise in the former Soviet Union (FSU) and socialist countries as a giant operating on the principle of ineﬃciency, the transition...
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