Entrepreneurship is increasingly viewed as a key determinant of firm, regional, and national economic performance. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) represent 99% of the 23 million enterprises in the EU (Nyman et al., 2006) and provide approximately 75 million jobs, therefore understanding of the key determinants of their success is essential. Successful entrepreneurship focuses on identifying and managing market opportunities by building a unique set of resources and competences through which these opportunities can be exploited (Ireland et al., 2001; Davidsson et al., 2002). However increasing competition in saturated markets has encouraged many SMEs to engage in a global economy thereby focusing on international rather than domestic markets. Traditionally, the predominant focus of international business management research has been on larger enterprises, but this has now been complemented with the comparatively new scholarly field of research on newly established SMEs and international business, that is, international entrepreneurship.
Research focusing on international entrepreneurship (IE) and the internationalisation of SMEs has grown phenomenally since the turn of the century. IE can be understood as “a combination of innovative, proactive and risk-seeking behaviour that crosses national borders and is intended to create value in organisations” (McDougall & Oviatt, 2000, p. 903) and is increasingly taking centre stage in entrepreneurship research.
Seminal work in the field has drawn attention to the management of the early stages of internationalisation and the phenomenon of ‘born global’ firms, ‘international new ventures’ or ‘rapidly internationalising SMEs’ (Oviatt and McDougall, 1994; Knight and Cavusgil, 1996; Madsen & Servais, 1997).
Indeed, the importance of such activity is now well recognised in Entrepreneurship, but not yet in General Management journals. However, whilst a body of literature has emerged which identifies the phenomenon and defines its characteristics and influencing factors, understanding is still at an early stage. We believe the development of IE as a field of study is likely to be particularly challenging both theoretically and methodologically due to its inherent complexity. This field demands an integration of perspectives from at least three highly multidisciplinary schools of thought – general management, international business and entrepreneurship.
As in other young fields of research, numerous topics in IE remain to be explored. More research on the management of the internationalisation of new ventures, as well as the antecedents and performance consequences of specific functional, business, and corporate strategies, is required. We anticipate that the increasing IE knowledge will also spread to the wider world of general management by including functional areas experts and their views on IE.
The special issue aims to explore the diverse challenges of the management of internationalisation faced by SMEs, such as, but not limited to:
- Managing IE and the internationalisation process
- The role of globalisation in IE
- Planning and managing internationalisation and IE
- Internationalisation of small firms
- Marketing and IE
- Human resource management and IE
- Management development and IE
- Corporate strategy and IE
- Organisational behaviour and IE
- Innovation management and IE
- Research methods in IE
- Information and communication technology and IE
- International markets and entry strategies
- International business partnerships and relationship management
Paper Submission Deadline: 15 June, 2010