Internationalisation as a process of strategy and change A study of 16 Swedish industrial SMEs
Sammanfattning: This thesis reports a study of the internationalisation processes of 16 industrial SMEs located in the county of Jönköping (Sweden). More specifically, it identifies changes in international strategies, identifies reasons why changes are undertaken and discusses how these changes can be understood when placed in the context of the internationalisation process.The findings show that industrial SME managers tend to stress the importance of foreign sales but are often much more reluctant to buy products abroad. This means that while changes in foreign sales market strategy occur frequently in many firms, the process of foreign sourcing market expansion unfolds more slowly, involving fewer markets. The findings also indicate preferences for a low degree of complexity in foreign sales and purchasing. Therefore, industrial SMEs typically become involved in more complex ventures like foreign subsidiaries only when this is perceived as necessary, for example when there is risk of losing a foreign market.Mostly, changes in industrial SMEs’ international strategies are undertaken as responses to external opportunities, such as unsolicited orders. Changes much less frequently find their origin in internal initiatives. This pattern appears to pervade throughout the internationalisation process, even if a more critical attitude towards potential changes arises with increasing experience.
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