Towards a Theory of Internationalization
Edited by Léo-Paul Dana, Isabell M. Welpe, Mary Han and Vanessa Ratten
Chapter 28: Internationalization of Dutch SMEs
Jolanda A. Hessels 1 Introduction In modern economies economic activity by small ﬁrms is increasingly important for achieving economic growth (Audretsch and Thurik, 2001). The revival of small businesses in Western economies from the 1970s onwards, commonly referred to as the emergence of the ‘entrepreneurial economy’ (Audretsch and Thurik, 2001; 2004), is related to increased globalization and economic integration, developments in ICT and the increased importance of knowledge in the economic process (Thurik et al., 2002). Furthermore, because of developments such as globalization and technological changes, small and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly involved in international markets (European Commission, 2004a). This study focuses on the internationalization of SMEs that are located in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is a particularly interesting country to investigate, because the Netherlands is a small, open economy (Dana, 2006). The Dutch business sector as a whole is among the largest exporters, importers and foreign direct investors in the world. In this study a number of issues will be addressed that relate to the internationalization of Dutch SMEs. First, an overview will be provided of the involvement of Dutch SMEs in various international activities: imports, exports, foreign direct investments and international cooperation. Second, the present study tries to link competitive strategy to the international involvement of Dutch SMEs. Increased globalization and economic integration results in an increase in (foreign) competition on the domestic markets. Both enterprises that are active on foreign markets and those that focus only on the domestic market will have to deal, more and...
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