The effect of SME management’s international experience on internationalization: the Tallinn case
Rosenbloom, Thomas G.
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This thesis explores the relationship between the international experiences of the management team and small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) ability to develop and employ internationalization strategies. In doing so, it develops a central hypothesis that an internationally experienced management team increases the capabilities of the firm to engage in a multitude of foreign activities. Furthermore, it explains the relationship through intermediary variables including communication skills, cultural awareness, knowledge, experience, attitudes (willingness to change, openness, tolerance of risk), awareness of opportunities, networking, and resource development. To analyze the interactions between variables a four-armed comprehensive theoretical framework is developed which synthesizes major theoretical approaches in the field. These approaches include the Uppsala model, the Network model, the Resource Based View (RBV), and the OLI framework (Ownership, Location, and Internalization-specific advantages). The independent and dependent variables are conceptualized based on the relevant literature and the case selection is justified. Using the conceptualization and theoretical framework each variable is then operationalized. To collect and analyze the data a mixed-method case study of Tallinn’s SMEs is constructed which utilizes surveys and semi-structured, in-depth interviews. Confirming evidence is found both for the usefulness of the framework and the hypotheses proposed.