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The internationalization profiles of Portuguese SMEs

Listed author(s):
  • Pedro Oliveira


    (Faculdade de Engenharia, Universidade do Porto)

  • Aurora A.C. Teixeira


    (CEF.UP, Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto; INESC Porto; OBEGEF)

Given the (increasing) view point that firms’ internationalization strategy is the unique path to overcome the Portuguese dismissal economic growth, the present paper offers a comprehensive picture of the internationalization behavior of Portuguese SME, constituting therefore an important tool for political action. On the basis of the literature review and the factorial and cluster analyses performed, we propose three main segmentation criteria, one (‘Whole encompassing segmentation’: Experienced Medium Low-Tech firms; Low skill, Low-Tech firms; Young High-Tech firms) based on language skills, SME business experience, foreign market dependency, introduction of organizational innovation, exporting to ‘High income countries’ and education level of executive teams. The second segmentation proposal (‘Intermediate segmentation’: Young small-sized firms; Young micro-sized firms; Mature small-sized firms; Young medium-sized firms; Mature medium-sized firms; Foreign equity firms; Highly productive firms) has as criteria the firm size, the SME export intensity and industry. The last segmentation proposal (‘Parsimonious segmentation’: Medium-sized firms; Small-sized manufacturing firms; Micro-sized firms; Non-manufacturing small-sized firms; Export active small-sized firms; Potential exporters; Promising exporters firms) is based on SME size, business experience, foreign capital presence, and average productivity. Given the need for a parsimonius segmentation criterion, we convey that the most adequate segmentation criterion is the one combining SME size, export intensity and industry. This restricted number of criteria does not, however, affect the quality of the proposed SME segmentation, and has the advantage of being stasticaly adequate and user/cost friendly.

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Paper provided by Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto in its series FEP Working Papers with number 439.

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Length: 57 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2011
Handle: RePEc:por:fepwps:439
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