Title: The internet and the internationalisation of small knowledge-intensive firms: promises, problems and prospects

Authors: Shameen Prashantham, Stephen Young

Addresses: Strathclyde International Business Unit, University of Strathclyde, Stenhouse Building, 173 Cathedral Street, Glasgow G4 0RQ, UK. ' Strathclyde International Business Unit, University of Strathclyde, Stenhouse Building, 173 Cathedral Street, Glasgow G4 0RQ, UK

Abstract: Based on case studies, this paper presents some exploratory insights, supplemented by a preliminary quantitative study from a developing economy context (i.e., the software industry in Bangalore), concerning the role of the internet in the internationalisation of small knowledge-intensive firms. Three main points are made in this paper. First, the internet holds great promise in facilitating the internationalisation of small firms – especially those in peripheral regions like developing economies; the four Bangalore-based small case-firms shared this view. Second, internet technology notwithstanding, traditional aspects of business such as the importance of face-to-face interaction and the building of trust remain vital; here a potential facilitator for small firms to overcome this barrier comes in the form of internet-supported intermediaries. Third, ultimately the prospect that the internet holds for internationalising resource-poor firms is that of international growth; a preliminary study of 30 Bangalore-based small software firms suggests that this notion holds credence and is worthy of further study, on a larger scale. These findings have implications for future research, practice and policy making in terms of taking a holistic view of the use of internet technology and the leveraging of social capital.

Keywords: internet; internationalisation; knowledge-intensive firms; developing countires; India; software industry; small firms; SMEs; social capital.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2004.005382

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2004 Vol.1 No.1/2, pp.153 - 175

Available online: 29 Sep 2004 *

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