Journal of International Entrepreneurship

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 57–77

The overestimated role of strategic orientations for international performance in smaller firms


DOI: 10.1007/s10843-008-0031-9

Cite this article as:
Frishammar, J. & Andersson, S. J Int Entrep (2009) 7: 57. doi:10.1007/s10843-008-0031-9


This article examines how market orientation (MO) and entrepreneurial orientation (EO) relate to international performance in small firms. Empirically, the article draws on survey data from 188 Swedish SMEs. Results show that strategic orientations have a very limited influence on international performance in these firms. Proactiveness and, to some extent, a market orientation proved positively associated with international performance, while innovativeness and risk taking show no such relationship. Our findings highlight the problems associated with using “traditional” MO and EO constructs in an SME setting and point to the need of developing more appropriate constructs tailored to this context. We also note that the MO construct was developed from a “causal view” of marketing, while successful small international firms rely more on effectuation logic. The article also contributes to the debate between the two dominant perspectives that address firms’ early internationalization processes: the process theory of internationalization and the international new venture perspective, where our results are in favor of the latter.


Market orientationEntrepreneurial orientationInternational performanceInnovativenessProactivenessRisk taking

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Entrepreneurship and Industrial ManagementLuleå University of TechnologyLuleåSweden
  2. 2.School of Business & Engineering, Center for Technology, Innovation and Marketing Management (CTIM2)Halmstad UniversityHalmstadSweden