Journal article

SME international opportunity scouting—empirical insights on its determinants and outcomes

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Author list: Papaioannou, Stylianos

Publication year: 2015

Start page: 186

End page: 211

Number of pages: 26

ISSN: 1570-7385

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10843-015-0155-7

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Abstract

International opportunities are the catalysts of SME internationalization. Our knowledge regarding the role of international opportunities in internationalization is undisputable, yet our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of international opportunity development remains inadequate. In this paper, we seek to address this shortcoming in the literature by answering the following research questions: how do internal and external factors influence the international opportunity scouting of SMEs, and what are the effects of the international opportunity scouting strategy in the internationalization of the firm? From a case study of nine Swedish SMEs, the authors develop propositions on the interplay between the theoretical constructs: international experience, network structure, international opportunity scouting, and international opportunity novelty. We propose that the greater the international experience of the SME, the more systematically the SME will scout for international opportunities; the more closed the network the SME is embedded in, the more systematically the SME will scout for international opportunities; and the more systematically the SME scouts for international opportunities, the lower the novelty of the opportunities identified by the SME. These findings come with implications for theory as well as for SME managers


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