Local resource mobilisation and internationalisation strategies in small and medium sized enterprises
Research on Fordism, industrial districts and flexible specialisation all emphasise a new role for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and an increasing globalisation of the marketplace. Special focus has been directed towards the increasing externalisation of tasks and a corresponding increase in cooperative arrangements or networking. This paper reports from a Scandinavian empirical study of the internationalisation of SMEs, their use of external resources, and in what sense local resources are mobilised in the process of internationalisation. Relevant literature is surveyed and a conceptual model on internationalisation is developed. In this model local business environment, the internal resources of the firm, the quality of the manager, and the ability of the firm to make use of external resources explain the export behaviour of the firm. Four different regions were included in a quasi-experimental design, each including their population of SMEs in the mechanical and wood product sector. The empirical part of the paper is mostly descriptive and includes analyses of the structural differences between the SME populations in the four regions and a report on their involvement in subcontracting, interfirm relations, and their use of producer services. Next the export behaviour is analysed and a simple analysis of the model ends the paper.
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