Title: The internationalisation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): a multi-level integrative framework

Authors: Michael A. Abebe, Arifin Angriawan

Addresses: Department of Management, College of Business Administration, The University of Texas-Pan American, 1201 West University Drive, Edinburg, 78539-2999, Texas, USA. ' Department of Marketing, Human Resources and Management, School of Management, Purdue University-Calumet, 2200 169th Street, Hammond, 46323-2094, Indiana, USA

Abstract: The internationalisation activities in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have attracted a great deal of scholarly interest in the last couple of decades. Despite the growing number of studies that focus on one or more antecedents of internationalisation activities in SMEs, there is a lack of an integrated theoretical framework that conceptualises the antecedents of internationalisation in SMEs as a multi-level organisational phenomenon. To fill this gap, we propose a multi-level integrated theoretical framework of SMEs internationalisation based on the open system perspective of organisations. This study integrates the extant literature on SME internationalisation by discussing behavioural (managerial), firm-level (resource endowments and strategy) and industry-level (life cycle and competition) antecedents. Drawing from the product-life cycle, resource-based view, organisational learning, social network and strategic management literatures, we develop an integrated framework and related propositions on the drivers of internationalisation activities in SMEs.

Keywords: resource-based views; entrepreneurial orientation; integrated frameworks; foreign markets; market entry; globalisation; multi-level frameworks; integrative frameworks; multi-level organisations; open system perspectives; behavioural antecedents; product life cycles; competition; managerial antecedents; firm-level antecedents; resource endowments; resource strategies; industry-level antecedents; organisational learning; social networks; strategic management; drivers; international entrepreneurship; innovation management; internationalisation; international strategies; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEIM.2011.039828

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, 2011 Vol.13 No.3/4, pp.377 - 397

Published online: 20 Apr 2011 *

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