Title: On the relationship between size, capabilities and internationalisation: an explorative analysis of Italian subcontracting SMEs

Authors: Bernardo Balboni; Guido Bortoluzzi; Roberto Grandinetti

Addresses: Department of Economics 'Marco Biagi', University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 41121 Modena, Italy. ' Department of Economics, Management, Mathematics and Statistics 'B. de Finetti', University of Trieste, 34127 Trieste, Italy. ' Department of Economics and Management 'M. Fanno', University of Padova, 35123 Padova, Italy

Abstract: The relationship between firm size and internationalisation is a puzzling one. This paper adopts a resource-based perspective to provide an analysis of the relationship between the capabilities, size and internationalisation of industrial subcontractors, with the aim of deepening the understanding of this relationship. We focus on subcontracting small and medium enterprises (SMEs), since the increasing global fragmentation of production has modified their role within global supply networks. They are connective nodes able to provide to their clients both flexibility and effectiveness through their bridging capabilities. The results confirm the importance of specific capabilities in fostering subcontractors' internationalisation process. However, they also show that the importance of those capabilities changes substantially in subcontractors of different sizes.

Keywords: firm capabilities; resources; firm size; internationalisation; small and medium-sized enterprises; subcontracting SMEs; globalisation; subcontractors; suppliers; growth; Italy; resource-based view; RBV; global supply networks; globalisation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJGSB.2013.050489

International Journal of Globalisation and Small Business, 2013 Vol.5 No.1/2, pp.114 - 132

Received: 22 Mar 2012
Accepted: 03 Sep 2012

Published online: 27 Nov 2012 *

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