IE papers – Jan/Feb 2015

International Business Review – 2015, Volume 24, Issue 1, 77-88.

Beyond path dependence: Explorative orientation, slack resources, and managerial intentionality to internationalize in SMEs

Àngels Dasí, María Iborra and Vicente Safón

  • Managerial intentionality plays an important role in a firm’s selection of its internationalization path. In relation to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), most studies focus on the individual traits that foster managerial intentionality without considering organizational-level antecedents. This study seeks to address this gap by focusing on two organizational antecedents: the firm’s exploration and exploitation orientations, and its slack resources. The firm’s orientations affect the application of different learning processes, including knowledge acquisition, information interpretation, and knowledge diffusion, and they shape the subjective norms prevalent in the organization, thereby influencing managers’ intentions. Slack resources can affect managers’ intentions not only by offering them leeway to explore new alternatives but also by encouraging complacency. We test our hypotheses on a data set of 132 SMEs. Our findings show that an explorative orientation plays an important role in management intentionality to internationalize, and that slack resources moderate this relationship.

International Business Review – 2015, Volume 24, Issue 2, 344-351.

When does absorptive capacity matter for international performance of firms? Evidence from China

Aiqi Wu and Hinrich Voss

  • While learning plays an important role in firms’ internationalization process, the impact absorptive capacity has on the international performance when considering the timing of the internationalization is still unclear. Our research explores the role of absorptive capacity in international performance of early internationalizing firms and international experienced firms. Combining established theories, we propose opposing effect of absorptive capacity as the learning advantages of newness vanish over time and are replaced by organizational rigidities and inertia. Based on survey data from 162 Chinese firms, our empirical results indicate that the influence of absorptive capacity on international performance becomes stronger when the firm enters foreign market in its earlier stage of life cycle. However, we find that as the learning advantages of newness diminish, so does the effectiveness of high levels of absorptive capacity. Absorptive capacity resources become captured by organizational and operational rigidities and contribute less to firm performance.

International Journal of Entrepreneurship – 2014, Volume 18, 17-28.

What do we know about the core competencies of micromultinationals?

Jeffrey E Johnson and Pavlos Dimitratos

  • While there are many studies concerning internationalized small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), examination of a special type of internationalized small firm, notably the micromultinational, is scant. Following the definition of Dimitratos et al. (2003, p. 165), the micromultinational is an SME “that controls and manages value-added activities through constellation and investment modes in more than one country”. Drawing on the resource-based view and an in-depth case study analysis of 15 firms in Scotland, we examine core competencies that may facilitate the growth of micromultinationals. The study found that micromultinational competencies include being a visionary leader, proactive strategist, customer listener, market nicher, global player and effective networker. We explore these factors along with implications for research, management and public policy.

Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science – 2015, Volume 43, Number 2, 221-239.

The role of the market sub-system and the socio-technical sub-system in innovation and firm performance: a dynamic capabilities approach

Jay Weerawardena, Gillian Sullivan Mort, Sandeep Salunke, Gary Knight and Peter W Liesch

  • Organizational learning has been studied as a key factor in firm performance and internationalization. Moving beyond the past emphasis on market learning, we develop a more complete explanation of learning, its relationship to innovation, and their joint effect on early internationalization. We theorize that, driven by the founders’ international vision, early internationalizing firms employ a dual subsystem of dynamic capabilities: a market subsystem consisting of market-focused learning capability and marketing capability, and a socio-technical subsystem comprised of network learning capability and internally focused learning capability. We argue that innovation mediates the proposed relationship between the dynamic capability structure and early internationalization. We conduct case studies to develop the conceptual framework and test it in a field survey of early internationalizing firms from Australia and the United States. Our findings indicate a complex interplay of capabilities driving innovation and early internationalization. We provide theoretical and practical implications and offer insights for future research.

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development – 2015, Volume 21, Number 1, 37-21.

From export entry to de-internationalisation through entrepreneurial attributes

Esteban Lafuente, Maria-Cristina Stoian and Josep Rialp

  • The purpose of this paper is to examine export behaviour from a broad perspective considering the influence of entrepreneurial attributes on export entry, export sustainability and de-internationalisation in Romanian small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Based on theoretical underpinnings from the resource-based view (RBV) of the firm and the Institutional Economics (IE) framework, the proposed hypotheses are tested with a rich survey data set of 319 Romanian SMEs. The data are analysed by means of a multinomial logit regression. The study reveals that exporting is not a single event and that variables commonly used to study export propensity linked to the entrepreneurial attributes have a differential influence over the export decisions. More concretely, export entry is positively impacted by the presence of management studies and an entrepreneurial team while sustainment in the international arena is strongly and positively influenced by decision-makers’ prior labour experience. De-internationalisation is explained by the entrepreneurs’ fear of business failure. The conclusions of this study point towards a holistic view of export policy making revealing relevant implications for SMEs’ internationalisation. This study enriches the international business literature by simultaneously examining different export decisions, namely export initiation, sustainability and de-internationalisation, at the SMEs’ level in a Central and Eastern European (CEE) emerging market. The paper also highlights the dynamic character of entrepreneurial resources and suggests that at distinct stages in the international development of a SME, different entrepreneurial attributes may play a significant role.