Review of Managerial Science

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 691–716 | Cite as

Drivers of internationalization success: a conjoint choice experiment on German SME managers

  • Sascha Kraus
  • Christine Mitter
  • Felix Eggers
  • Philipp Stieg
Original Paper


Internationalization is a common growth strategy for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). However, SMEs face several challenges within the internationalization process. As SMEs are characterized by limited resources, managers are constantly involved in a decision-making process concerning the allocation of the SMEs’ resources. Therefore, internationalization can be understood as a complex, multidimensional decision process. Based on a set of 2244 internationalization decisions made by German SME managers, the present study examines how eight strategic and structural factors drive the perceived international success of SMEs. When applying conjoint choice analysis, the results suggest that especially equity financing in the internationalization process, an appropriate market selection as well as proactive motives, and a long-term scope can drive SMEs’ international success. Moreover, it becomes evident that strategic factors are more relevant for successful internationalization than structural factors.


Internationalization SME Conjoint analysis Choice experiment International success 

JEL Classification

F20 L25 



The project is supported by the International University of Lake Constance (IBH). The International University of Lake Constance is a network of 30 universities and colleges located in Austria, Germany, the Principality of Liechtenstein and Switzerland.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sascha Kraus
    • 1
  • Christine Mitter
    • 2
  • Felix Eggers
    • 3
  • Philipp Stieg
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LiechtensteinVaduzLiechtenstein
  2. 2.Salzburg University of Applied SciencesPuch/SalzburgAustria
  3. 3.University of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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