The internet and the internationalisation of small knowledge-intensive firms: promises, problems and prospects
by Shameen Prashantham, Stephen Young
International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business (IJESB), Vol. 1, No. 1/2, 2004

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.

Online publication date: Wed, 29-Sep-2004

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