Title: Internationalisation strategies for SMEs in the decade ahead: are our theories relevant?

Authors: Richard Fletcher

Addresses: School of Marketing, University of Western Sydney, P.O.Box 1797, Penrith South, DC 1797, Australia

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that different theoretical approaches are required for the internationalisation of SMEs. A comparison is made of existing theories and approaches with the actual behaviour of SMEs. The paper calls into question the relevance for SMEs of established theories of internationalisation derived from large scale surveys involving MNCs in developed countries. The finding is that internationalisation of SMEs requires different strategies based on approaches which are emic rather than etic and are holistic. This is required if SMEs are to compete effectively in both developing as well as developed overseas markets. SMEs must factor into their internationalisation strategies the specific requirements of each market with a focus on the potential consumer and adopt a portfolio approach to internationalisation spanning a number of such markets.

Keywords: internationalisation; emic; etic; theory relevance; bottom of the pyramid; theoretical approaches; multinational corporations; MNCs; developed countries; holistic approaches; overseas markets; market requirements; potential consumers; portfolio approach; international entrepreneurship; innovation management; international strategies; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEIM.2011.039821

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, 2011 Vol.13 No.3/4, pp.246 - 262

Available online: 20 Apr 2011 *

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