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Pre-internationalization: - A case study of the decision to internationalize among small and medium sized Swedish enterprises
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Business, Economics and Design, Linnaeus School of Business and Economics.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Business, Economics and Design, Linnaeus School of Business and Economics.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The process of internationalization has been one of the major areas of interest for researchers

for over four decades. The phase that precedes internationalization for firms, known as the

pre-internationalization phase, has also been of interest to study. Firms that are in this early

stage of becoming international, are characterized by being active only in the domestic market

but with intentions to expand. However, within this phase, little is known about the stimuli

that affect firms to expand their operations to foreign markets. By combining the traditional

theories of the drivers and barriers to internationalize, with the new theories concerning the

entrepreneurial influence in small and young firms, this study serves to complement a

particular research gap in the pre-internationalization phase.

The purpose of this study is to describe the pre-internationalization phase of SMEs, analyze

how drivers, barriers and entrepreneurial characteristics of managers affect the decision to

internationalize and to contribute to a further understanding of the research gap in the preinternationalization


A deductive research approach and a qualitative research method have been chosen for this

study. In this way, in-depth answers can provide understanding to a phenomenon that is still

partly undiscovered. To increase understanding in a broader environment than within one

organization the multiple case study design is used for this study. Therefore, three managers

from different firms participated in interviews, which is the basis for the empirical data.

When the empirical data is combined with relevant theories it provides a basis for the analysis

where the effects of drivers, barriers and international entrepreneurship are evaluated. This

analysis provides a foundation for the conclusion that it is a necessity to combine traditional

and new theories, with further empirical research, to fully understand why young domestic

small and medium-sized enterprises decide to internationalize. When these are put together, it

is possible to establish that barriers that are neglected by entrepreneurs are seemingly small

impediments, in comparison to the drivers to reach success and the entrepreneurial urge to


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 77 p.
Keyword [en]
Internationalization Process, Pre-internationalization, Small and Medium Sized
National Category
Economics and Business
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-20655OAI: diva2:539116
Educational program
International Business Programme, 180 credits
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2012-07-10 Created: 2012-07-03 Last updated: 2012-07-10Bibliographically approved

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