How do rapidly internationalizing SMEs learn? Exploring the link between network relationships, learning approaches and post-entry growth of rapidly Internationalizing SMEs from Emerging Markets

Pushyarag Puthusserry, Zaheer Khan* (Corresponding Author), Gary Knight, Kristel Miller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

This article explores learning among rapidly internationalizing small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and how this supports the post-internationalization growth and survival of these firms. We utilize a qualitative multiple case study approach of 10 information and communication technology (ICT) SMEs from a key emerging market ? India. Findings suggest that during the post-entry stage, rapidly internationalizing SMEs use a wide range of internal and external sources of knowledge. External sources of knowledge include peer networks, associations in the same industry, international clients/partners, and international connections developed through trade fairs and trade missions. Internal sources of knowledge such as self-learning, especially from trial-and-error and experiential efforts, were found to enhance product, market and technological knowledge; and consequently aided geographic and product diversification. The findings also indicate that firms use a mix of integrated, vicarious, congenital and experiential learning approaches in their post-entry growth and survival phases. Experiential and congenital learning were found to be facilitated by firms? internal network sources, whereas external network sources provide an ideal platform for vicarious learning. The study provides new insights into networking and learning by providing evidence that exposure to and connection with diverse types of networks can result in various forms of valuable learning for rapidly internationalizing SMEs, which enhances their post-entry growth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-542
Number of pages28
JournalManagement International Review
Volume60
Early online date21 Jul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Open access via Springer Compact Agreement

Acknowledgements
We would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers and Jeoung Yul Lee, the editor of this issue for their very useful comments. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Academy of International Business UK and Ireland (AIB-UKI) 2019 conference held in University of Sussex, Brighton, UK, where it received the University of Birmingham best research methods paper award. We are also thankful to the AIB-UKI conference participants for their valuable comments.

Keywords

  • Rapidly internationalizing SMEs
  • networks
  • learning
  • knowledge
  • post-entry growth
  • emerging markets
  • Learning
  • Networks
  • Emerging markets
  • Knowledge
  • Post-entry growth
  • ENTREPRENEURIAL ORIENTATION
  • QUALITATIVE RESEARCH
  • PERFORMANCE
  • DYNAMIC CAPABILITIES
  • FIRMS
  • KNOWLEDGE ACQUISITION
  • HIGH-TECH
  • TRADE FAIRS
  • BORN GLOBALS
  • FOREIGN SUBSIDIARIES

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