Marketspace and the Internationalisation Process of the Small Firm
This empirical study explores the potential impact of the marketspace--the virtual world of digitised information--on the process of internationalisation within small technology-based firms (STBFs). Research findings demonstrate several effects relating to the firm's increased use of the marketspace for international business activities. In relation to internal resource-related effects, increased marketspace use is associated with: a stronger internal resource-base for international operations; and higher levels of internal international business information. Moreover, in relation to external resource-related effects, increased marketspace use is associated with: an increase in the firm's international orientation; an increase in the range and diversity of international business contacts; and an increase in unsolicited orders from foreign markets. This study confirms that the entrepreneur's prior Internet experience is a critical factor influencing use of the marketspace to support the firm's international operations. Similarly, organisational use of the marketspace (influenced by the previous experience of the entrepreneur) impacts upon certain aspects of the firm's internationalisation behaviour. Despite the significance of these findings, the marketspace is neither a replacement for traditional marketplace-based activities, nor is it a panacea that ensures effective small firm internationalisation. Complementary exploitation of both the marketspace and the traditional marketplace is likely to provide the optimal internationalisation route for small firms.
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