Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Exploring the internationalization of small and medium-sized enterprises as a discontinuous process
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration. Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Center for Family Enterprise and Ownership (CeFEO).
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Internationalization is an important growth strategy for small and medium-sizedenterprises (SMEs). Yet, it is also a complex process since it involves a large variety of decisions and addressing the diverse nature of and unfamiliarity with foreign markets can especially be challenging for SMEs. Because SMEs have fewer resources they tend to be less equipped for internationalization and become more vulnerable to changes in the external environment. Therefore, continued growth in foreign markets is not easy nor guaranteed and instead, SMEs can de-internationalize and potentially re-internationalize. Thus, internationalization can be described as a discontinuous process.

To address the complexities of internationalization as a discontinuous process, this dissertation studies some key antecedents, mediating factors and performance effects associated with the discontinuous internationalization of SMEs. The dissertation comprises two quantitative studies, a qualitative study, and a conceptual essay. The first essay examines family involvement in SMEs as an antecedent of intermittent exporting building on the behavioral agency model and real options reasoning. Utilizing a unique longitudinal dataset of Swedish SMEs in the manufacturing and retail industry, it is found that family firms experience a higher degree of intermittent exporting than non-family firms. This relationship is moderated by the foreign background of the CEO, such that the degree of intermittent exporting reduces when family firms have a CEO with a foreign background.

While research has addressed the motivations for de-internationalization, less is known about the de-internationalization process. The second paper studies the de-internationalization process building on two case studies. The findings indicate that attitudinal commitment can be a key mediating factor between motives for de-internationalization and the de-internationalization outcome. Different commitment profiles are identified in relation to the timing of de-internationalization, the effort put into executing the de-internationalization decision and the extent of de-internationalization.

The third essay studies the performance effect of exit from exporting, using a longitudinal dataset of Swedish exporting SMEs in the manufacturing industry. This essay relies on the theoretical framework of the internationalization performance literature - which builds on transaction cost theory, resource-based view and learning theory – to hypothesize that exit from exporting can have benefits and costs and that the environmental circumstances influence whether the benefits or costs prevail. The findings show that exit from exporting can be beneficial for SME financial performance if the firm has high levels of available slack and when the firm is active in a dynamic environment.

The fourth essay proposes that a focus on the behavioral theory of the firm can provide a basis for understanding the micro-processes in family firms that may affect discontinuities in the internationalization process. Family business internationalization literature has borrowed some aspects of the behavioral theory of the firm, like goal diversity and uncertainty avoidance. However, it has ignored others like problemistic search and learning. Building on the key concepts of quasiresolution of conflict, uncertainty avoidance, problemistic search and learning,future areas for research on family firm internationalization as a discontinuous process are identified in this essay.

Overall, the dissertation responds to a call for research on the dynamics in the internationalization process and makes four important contributions to the literatures on SME internationalization, family business and internationalization performance. First, it shows how family control can influence intermittent exporting. Second, it adds to the discussion on de-internationalization of SMEs by highlighting the role of attitudinal commitment in the de-internationalization process. Third, it extends the socioemotional wealth perspective by adding a real options lens to it. Fourth, a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between exit from exporting and performance is provided by proposing that exit from exporting can have costs as well as benefits and showing empirically that under certain circumstances exit from exporting can be beneficial for SME performance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School , 2019. , p. 78
Series
JIBS Dissertation Series, ISSN 1403-0470 ; 132
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-45439ISBN: 978-91-86345-95-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-45439DiVA, id: diva2:1340326
Public defence
2019-08-30, B1014, Jönköping International Business School, Jönköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-08-05 Created: 2019-08-05 Last updated: 2019-08-05Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Keeping one's options open: intermittent exporting, family involvement and foreign background
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Keeping one's options open: intermittent exporting, family involvement and foreign background
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Intermittent exporting—a process of repeatedly exiting and re-entering exporting—is often associated with the initial stages of internationalization. However, for some small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including family SMEs, intermittent exporting is a strategy used beyond these initial stages. Drawing on a refinement of the behavioral agency model and real options reasoning, we theorize that family SMEs, defined as SMEs where the family exercises control through involvement in management and the board of directors, follow a more intermittent process than non-family firms. We also argue that this relationship is moderated by the international background of the CEO and board members. The hypotheses are tested using a unique longitudinal dataset of Swedish SMEs in the manufacturing and retail industries.

National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-45434 (URN)
Note

Earlier versions of this paper are presented at the International Family Enterprise Research Academy, 2019, Bergamo, Italy, and were accepted at the European International Business Academy, 2019, Poznan, Poland, and Academy of Management annual meeting, 2019, Boston, United States of America.

Available from: 2019-08-05 Created: 2019-08-05 Last updated: 2019-08-21Bibliographically approved
2. Time to say “Au Revoir” – on commitment in Firms’ de-internationalization processes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Time to say “Au Revoir” – on commitment in Firms’ de-internationalization processes
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A myriad of reasons for de-internationalization have been identified in the current literature, but how firms de-internationalize has been studied only sporadically. Building on two cases of medium-sized firms, this paper explores how different types of attitudinal commitment relate to the de-internationalization process. In particular we explore how four types of attitudinal commitment, namely, affective, continuance, instrumental, and normative commitment, influence behavioral commitment in terms of how firms de-internationalize. The findings suggest that different commitment profiles influence the timing of deinternationalization, the effort directed toward the execution of deinternationalization, and the extent of de-internationalization. This paper contributes to the under-researched phenomenon of de-internationalization and the commitment literature by offering three propositions regarding the four types of commitment and the effects of these commitment types on the process of de-internationalization.

National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-45435 (URN)
Note

An earlier version of this essay was presented at the European International Business Academy, 2014, Uppsala, Sweden.

Available from: 2019-08-05 Created: 2019-08-05 Last updated: 2019-08-05Bibliographically approved
3. When does exit from exports benefit the performance of SMEs?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>When does exit from exports benefit the performance of SMEs?
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present study focuses on the conditions under which exit from export markets influences the performance of small-, and medium-sized firms (SMEs). Using longitudinal data from Swedish manufacturing firms, I find that exit can benefit firm performance if firms have high levels of available slack, whereas it can harm performance when levels of potential and recoverable slack are high. Moreover, I hypothesize and find that environmental dynamism has a positive moderating effect on the relationship between exit and SME performance. These findings add to the current literature on SMEs’ export development and performance by adopting a contingency perspective and showing that exit from exporting can benefit SME performance under certain circumstances. Moreover, with the changing international environment, this paper makes practitioners more aware that in some situations, it might be beneficial for the firm to exit from exports.

National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-45436 (URN)
Note

Earlier versions of this essay are presented at the Academy of International Business, 2017, Dubay, United Arab Emirates and the Academy of Management annual meeting, 2017, Atlanta, United States of America.

Available from: 2019-08-05 Created: 2019-08-05 Last updated: 2019-08-05Bibliographically approved
4. Internationalization of family firms as a discontinuous process: Conceptualization and future research using the behavioral theory of the firm
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Internationalization of family firms as a discontinuous process: Conceptualization and future research using the behavioral theory of the firm
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Internationalization of family firms has provided insights into the relationship between family ownership and the likelihood of a family firm internationalization and identified a variety of characteristics of family firms that can influence internationalization. However, these studies rely on an, often implicit, assumption that internationalization is a continuous process. In reality internationalization is often a discontinuous process in which firms internationalize, de-internationalize, and potentially, re-internationalize. In this paper, I suggest that the behavioral theory of the firm and the four key concepts of quasi resolution of goal conflict, uncertainty avoidance, problemistic search, and learning, can provide a theoretical framework for understanding family firms’ internationalization as a discontinuous process. While literature on family firms’ internationalization builds on and borrows parts of the behavioral theory of the firm like considering the notions of multiple goals and uncertainty avoidance, other concepts of problemistic search and learning have received less attention. Following a review of literature on family firms’ internationalization, I introduce new areas for empirical research and relevant research questions about family firms’ internationalization as a discontinuous process based on key concepts of the behavioral theory of the firm.

National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-45437 (URN)
Note

An earlier version of this essay was presented at the EIASM Workshop on Family Firm Management Research, 2015, Lyon, France

Available from: 2019-08-05 Created: 2019-08-05 Last updated: 2019-08-05Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

Kappa(998 kB)34 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 998 kBChecksum SHA-512
67e542c61b4e846629ab3b56b1b29a85b2c086a4e96af0a598615f8fad5d450a3446854b8573fcf45f9cfc32b8f9cb6bc3e8866285d17536c2bd4dcd247b7fcf
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Kuiken, Andrea
By organisation
JIBS, Business AdministrationJIBS, Center for Family Enterprise and Ownership (CeFEO)
Business Administration

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 34 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

isbn
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

isbn
urn-nbn
Total: 175 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf