Knowledge acquisition for the internationalization of the smaller firm: content and sources

Fletcher, M. and Harris, S. (2012) Knowledge acquisition for the internationalization of the smaller firm: content and sources. International Business Review, 21(4), pp. 631-647. (doi: 10.1016/j.ibusrev.2011.07.008)




Internationalization process research emphasizes accumulated experience and networks as sources of knowledge for internationalization. Our understanding, however, as to what this knowledge is in practice for smaller firms, the challenges they face in acquiring it, and how they address those challenges is limited. Integrating organizational learning concepts with our theoretical understanding of the small firm internationalization process, we develop a new framework for understanding knowledge acquisition processes, which are examined with a case study of 10 Scottish internationalizing firms. We find smaller firms may not have relevant experience or useful networks, and rely on sources rarely recognised before. Firms used recruitment, government advisors and consultants to acquire indirect experience. Recruitment is a source of market and technological knowledge and government advisors and consultants a source of internationalization knowledge. Accessing internal information is important for firms that have internationalized. Our integrated theoretical framework identifies knowledge content and sources that are critical for internationalization, but that may be absent.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in International Business Review. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in International Business Review, (2011) DOI: 10.1016/j.ibusrev.2011.07.008
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Fletcher, Professor Margaret
Authors: Fletcher, M., and Harris, S.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:International Business Review
Published Online:10 August 2011
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2011 Elsevier
First Published:First published in International Business Review 2011
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
468711Learning processes of internationalising SMEs [Small and Medium Enterprises]Marian JonesEconomic & Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/F032676/1BUS - MANAGEMENT