A New Insight in the SMEs Internationalization Process
There is growing evidence that internationalization of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) has become a priority to gain competitive advantage. However, SMEs still face major challenges and obstacles during these processes. This paper proposes a model of collaborative networks for internationalization processes of SMEs, mediated by industrial enterprise associations (IEAs), in order to improve decision-making processes. First, a systematic literature review (SLR) was performed to study the impact that networks and collaboration have in the decision-making process of internationalization. Then, the model was developed using adequate information and knowledge management tools. Finally, to understand the relevance of the proposed model, data were gathered through interviews to key persons in companies of the IT/electronics and textile industries. Results showed that collaborative networks can represent an important facilitator in the internationalization of SMEs and that IEAs can have a fundamental role for promoting collaboration in this domain, between associated SMEs.
KeywordsInternationalization Collaborative networks Decision-making Systematic literature review Interviews
This research was financed by the North Portugal Regional Operational Programme (ON.2 - O Novo Norte), under the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF), through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and by national funds, through the Portuguese funding agency, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT), within project NORTE-07-0124-FEDER-000057.
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