Title: Exploring management and entrepreneurial factors in the internationalisation of SMEs: evidence from the Bangladeshi apparel industry

Authors: Mohammad Bakhtiar Rana; Olav Jull Sørensen

Addresses: International Business Centre, Department of Business and Management, Aalborg University, Fibigerstræde – 10, 9220, Aalborg, Denmark ' International Business Centre, Department of Business and Management, Aalborg University, Fibigerstræde – 10, 9220, Aalborg, Denmark

Abstract: The study aims to explore the internal management and entrepreneurial factors that affect the internationalisation process of ready-made-garment (RMG) SMEs in Bangladesh. The study collects information from 46 apparel SMEs located in Chittagong, Bangladesh, and is followed by a pilot survey. Results reveal that entrepreneurs' management capability, foreign language skill, and e-commerce orientation play an instrumental role in the internationalisation process. In addition to common institutional impediments, the study finds entrepreneurial and managerial capabilities that make a difference in the internationalisation of apparel SMEs. Since the nature of the apparel business is buyer driven, establishing and maintaining a 'network' and 'learning' are the most important aspects for internationalisation process, which are dependent on the entrepreneur's management capability, foreign language skill and the extent to which e-commerce is adopted in the firm. In studying these buyer-driven firms, i.e., RMGs, researchers not only should consider the traditional theories of internationalisation, but take into account the perspectives of both lead firms and supplier firms within the global value chain in which both interact and conduct their operations.

Keywords: SMEs; small and medium-sized enterprises; internationalisation; global value chain; ready-made garments; Bangladesh; emerging markets; internal management; entrepreneurship; management capability; foreign language skills; e-commerce orientation; electronic commerce; apparel industry; clothing industry; garment industry; networks; learning.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2013.055490

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2013 Vol.19 No.4, pp.517 - 542

Available online: 30 Jul 2013 *

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