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International strategy and performance—Clustering strategic types of SMEs

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Listed:
  • Hagen, Birgit
  • Zucchella, Antonella
  • Cerchiello, Paola
  • De Giovanni, Nicolò

Abstract

This paper identifies different strategic types of internationalised SMEs, in so doing providing managers and entrepreneurs with a much better understanding of the main strategic options and their relationship with the international performance of firms. We provide a theoretical analysis of strategic orientations and strategic behaviour in international SMEs, followed by an empirical investigation based on a sample of Italian SMEs. The SMEs are grouped into strategic types using cluster analysis, and the link between strategic type and international performance is subsequently analysed using logistic regression. The empirical data suggest that there are four broad strategic types, namely an entrepreneurial/growth-oriented group of firms, a customer-oriented group, a product/inward-oriented cluster, and a further group of firms that lacks strategic orientation. The characteristics of the strategic clusters are discussed, and the regression results show that a clear and proactive strategic orientation and its consistency with business strategy leads to improved international performance. This confirms the positive and highly significant role of strategic types.

Suggested Citation

  • Hagen, Birgit & Zucchella, Antonella & Cerchiello, Paola & De Giovanni, Nicolò, 2012. "International strategy and performance—Clustering strategic types of SMEs," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 369-382.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:iburev:v:21:y:2012:i:3:p:369-382
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ibusrev.2011.04.002
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