Title: Understanding the role of virtual enterprises in supporting manufacturing SMEs' internationalisation process

Authors: Pierre Hadaya, Robert Pellerin

Addresses: Ecole des Sciences de la Gestion, Universite du Quebec a Montreal, P.O. Box 8888, Downtown Station, Montreal, Quebec, H3C 3P8, Canada. ' Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, H3C 3A7, Canada

Abstract: Based on the literature on internationalisation and building on emerging concepts in electronic commerce (e-commerce), the objective of this study is to improve our understanding of the role of virtual enterprises in supporting manufacturing SMEs| internationalisation process and to propose a stage model describing how business-to-business e-commerce and a supply chain strategy can develop in such a context. Data gathered from 438 Canadian manufacturing SMEs show that those that are active on international markets are more inclined to adopt the structure of a virtual enterprise to conduct business electronically and make more extensive use of e-commerce than SMEs that are active only on local markets. Results also show that manufacturing SMEs begin their internationalisation process by changing the characteristics of their supply chain relationships. Finally, the e-commerce internationalisation process is similar for manufacturing SMEs| upstream and downstream supply chain activities.

Keywords: manufacturing SMEs; business-to-business; B2B; e-commerce; electronic commerce; internationalisation; small and medium-sized enterprises; virtual enterprises; supply chain strategy; supply chain management; SCM; Canada.

DOI: 10.1504/IJGSB.2008.017290

International Journal of Globalisation and Small Business, 2008 Vol.2 No.3, pp.262 - 279

Published online: 22 Feb 2008 *

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