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Internationalising small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) a learning approach

Fletcher, Margaret (2007) Internationalising small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) a learning approach. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the learning processes of internationalising small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Based on a framework of absorptive capacity the research explores and examines: i. types and sources of new knowledge acquired by firms, ii. assimilation of new knowledge within firms, iii. exploitation of new capabilities gained and iv. outcomes of the new knowledge and learning. This research adopts a qualitative approach based on 12 longitudinal case studies of internationalising firms which were participating in the Scottish Enterprise Global Companies Development Programme. Multiple semi-structured interviews with the chief executive officers were carried out over a three year period and access was gained to Scottish Enterprise records and consultancy reports on the firms. This research provides new insights into the nature of knowledge used by internationalising firms and has clarified distinctions between different types of knowledge. Findings suggest that three types of knowledge – market, internationalisation and product/technological – were acquired depending on decisions facing firms at the time. Internationalisation knowledge was the most frequent new knowledge needed. This was knowledge which is specific to the internationalisation process or generic, which is applicable to overseas and domestic operations. Specific internationalisation knowledge is often developed by combining market and product knowledge. New insights are given into how firms acquire new knowledge from external, internal, experiential and objective sources of knowledge. To increase adsorptive capacity it was important for firms to create internal procedures and systems to convert tacit and individual knowledge to explicit and shared knowledge. The impact of new knowledge and learning on firms’ capabilities, decision making, competitive advantage and performance, and the constraints faced by firms are explored.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Supervisor's Name: Young, Prof. Stephen
Date of Award: 2007
Depositing User: Geraldine Coyle
Unique ID: glathesis:2007-984
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2009
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:30
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/984

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