What lies beneath the internationalization of firms in a regional innovation system?
The aim of the paper is to identify the internationalization models of SME industrial district firms within a very integrated and dynamic Regional Innovation System (RIS) of Italy. By doing so, we investigate which are the strategies of firms embedded in a RIS to access global suppliers and markets. Accordingly, this paper explores the role of SMEs firmsÕ dynamic capabilities, its linkage with the industry investments in ICT (information and communication technologies) and the impact of the utilization of regional knowledge intensive business services (KIBS) in shaping the degree of internationalization of local firms. The analysis is based on a survey addressed during 2004 to entrepreneurs or managers of a sample of 125 SMEs firms operating in 7 industrial districts (biomedical, ceramics, shipbuilding, footwear, textile, plastics and packaging) of the Emilia Romagna. The results coming from a structural equation model revealed factors that impact on firmsÕ degree of internationalization in the input (relocalisation of foreign purchases through global value chains) and in the output dimension (export sales). Some interesting insights on what lies beneath the internationalization of firms in a very dynamic regional innovation system like that one of Emilia Romagna are provided.
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