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|SME Internationalization: The Influence of Attitude on the Decision to Commit to Advanced Market Entry Modes
|Apfelthaler, Gerhard (California Lutheran University)
Devine, Kay (Faculty of Business, Athabasca University)
|Stewart, David (Faculty of Business, Athabasca University)
Napier, Nancy (Boise State University)
Fraser, Shawn (Centre for Nursing & Health Studies, Faculty of Health Disciplines, Athabasca University)
|Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
|Faculty of Business
market entry mode
|Participation and success of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in global markets is of strategic interest to business and public policy makers. Despite empirical evidence that generally demonstrates that performance improves with the level of internationalization mode, there is an identified problem in getting SME decision-makers to make a significant commitment to more advanced modes of internationalization.
A review of international business, entrepreneurship and organizational behavior research demonstrated that the attitudes of the SME decision-maker significantly impact the decision-making process to commit to advanced modes of internationalization. Further, the factors that influence and contribute to these attitudes are not well understood. The explicit objective of this research is to determine the important factors that affect a SME decision-maker’s attitude and how they influence the decision to commit to a more advanced foreign market entry mode of internationalization.
A quantitative online survey directed at 3117 Canadian manufacturing SME decision-makers who are in advanced and non-advanced modes of internationalization was undertaken. The responses from 224 participants were used for both hypothesis testing and to extend current theory that only marginally acknowledges the effect of attitude on the decision-making process.
This research has demonstrated support for attitudinal factors being a differentiator between advanced and non-advanced internationalization modes; and hence these factors are supported as influencers in the complex SME decision-making process. In addition, there is full statistical support for two constructs (Knowledge of culture, Perceived benefits) and moderate support for an additional two constructs (International experience, International commitment). Cross validation further validated the results and provided confidence for the conclusions generated.
This research’s conceptual framework and empirical results should make valuable additions to the literature on international business activities, specifically in the context that relates to the importance of attitudes in the decision-making process of mode choice. The research has reinforced some elements of existing international business theories and cast some doubt on the influence of other elements contained within these theories. The empirical results of this study also contribute to business practices and governmental agencies by identifying areas of improvements in internationalization support programs.
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