Handbook of Research on European Business and Entrepreneurship
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Handbook of Research on European Business and Entrepreneurship

Towards a Theory of Internationalization

Edited by Léo-Paul Dana, Isabell M. Welpe, Mary Han and Vanessa Ratten

This unique Handbook illustrates how entrepreneurs across Europe tackle internationalization. This timely and important book identifies patterns and builds a theory of international entrepreneurship in Europe.
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Chapter 34: The Internationalization of Small and Medium Firms in Spain

Alicia Coduras, Cristina Cruz, Ignacio de la Vega and Rachida Justo


34 The internationalization of small and medium firms in Spain Alicia Coduras, Cristina Cruz, Ignacio de la Vega and Rachida Justo 1 Introduction The classical literature on internationalization has considered the large firm as its reference point and unit of analysis. However, during the past 15 years or so, academics as well as policy makers have turned their attention to the internationalization of small and medium firms. Falling barriers to international trade, combined with rapid advances in communication and information-processing technologies, have led to an era of global economic integration (Tilly and Welfens, 2000). In this globalized context, even businesses that focus on the domestic market have to be competitive internationally in order to survive (Karagozoglu and Lindell, 1998). Moreover, researchers have started to realize that small and medium firms make an important contribution to the trade balances of their respective countries. However, firm’s internationalization varies widely among countries. In this chapter, using GEM1 2004 data, we describe the internationalization phenomenon for small and medium firms (SMEs) in Spain, a country in which small and medium firms clearly dominate.2 GEM’s data are based of a survey of the population aged 18–64 in all the participating countries. The survey is designed to cover many different dimensions of the entrepreneurial activity. Among these dimensions, the survey determines the exports activities of these initiatives. Although we are aware of the fact that the internationalization phenomena can take many forms other than exports, it seems reasonable to assume that small and medium...

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