EURAM 2012 Annual Conference: The Internationalization of Small Firms: Challenges and Perspectives


Dear colleagues,

As you may already know the EURAM 2012 Annual Conference will take place in Rotterdam in The Netherlands on June 6-8 (

Within the Conference’s International Management theme we are organizing a track on The Internationalization of Small Firms: Challenges and Perspectives in which we hope you will consider participating.

This email is to invite you to present a paper for this track.

The deadline for paper submission is 17 January 2012, 2:00p.m. Brussels time. Papers will be sent out for review in the last week of January 2012 and reviews will be due back by the first week of March 2012.

Detailed information about our track and the guidelines for paper submission are available on the following links.

You can find a brief description of the track below.

We are looking forward to receiving your paper and meeting you in Rotterdam.

Suzana Rodrigues, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University

John Child, University of Birmingham

Said Elbanna, United Arab Emirates University

Linda Hsieh, University of Birmingham

Rene Seifert, Universidade Positivo, Brazil


For questions and submission of papers, please contact Dr. Said Elbanna at [log in to unmask]


Internationalization has historically been associated with multinational corporations [MNCs]. However, the international market is increasingly populated by small and medium-sized enterprises [SMEs]. With globalization, many SMEs can no longer survive in sheltered domestic markets and others have been obliged to follow their customers as they move into foreign markets.  Recent research has drawn attention to four explanations for the capacity of SMEs to enter foreign markets: (1) the kind of resources they develop and deploy and their ability to manage these as dynamic capabilities; (2) their attachment to networks that facilitate internationalization; (3) their ability to innovate; and (4) their access to international markets through association with MNCs.

This track invites contributions on the internationalization of SMEs.  The perspectives mentioned and the following questions provide guidelines as to the topics on which papers are invited.  

1)  How does the engagement of SMEs with external relationships contribute to their internationalization? How do such relationships increase awareness of business opportunities and customer introductions, help the business to cope with risky and uncertain foreign environments? To which extent do trust relations help firms to internationalize? What kinds of network arrangements are more effective in connecting SMEs to global chains?  What is the role of local institutions in providing support to internationalization?

2)  How do entrepreneurs engage in internationalization? Does the decision to access foreign markets emerges from unplanned events and encounters (e.g. serendipity)?  Is foreign business usually demand-driven or does the firm need to be consistently pro-active in developing foreign business? 

3)  Do decision makers from organizations that have different international experiences think differently? How are the interpretations informing action-choices in internationalization are formed through experience and social interaction within networks?  To what extent is internationalization sought for business growth as opposed to other purposes?

4)  How do SMEs internal capabilities affect their capacity to enter foreign markets? What is the relevance of outsourcing in internationalization activities? Do these features vary as between traditional, innovation-based and born-global firms?

5) The internationalization of SMEs from emerging economies, especially to developed economies, is under-researched. Previous research has focused almost exclusively upon organizations working in the developed countries such as USA and UK, and a few emerging economies such as China. This track therefore intends to encourage contributions stemming from emerging economies. It is important to be alert to the ways in which contextually embedded studies can contribute to our understanding of the ways in which emerging markets SMEs access international markets. We therefore invite a discussion of the following questions: 

5.1)  Do SMEs from emerging and developed countries differentiate in their motives for, and ways of, internationalizing (e.g. tend to focus more on exploitative internationalization activities than explorative ones)? Would SMEs from emerging economies tend to be more reactive and cautious in their approach to internationalization? Which kind of firms tend to leapfrog their competitors in developed countries?  Do they tend to outsource more/less frequently than those from developed countries?  Do decision makers from developed economies act and plan differently from those from emerging economies? How do strategic decision-making processes vary among internationalized firms from different cultures?

5.2)  Would SMEs from certain economies make greater use of socially-based ties and be more entrepreneurial due to the opportunities they learn through such ties? Would SMEs from East Asian economies tend to be more collective in their approach to internationalization? 

Papers dealing with other new challenges and perspectives concerning the internationalization of SMEs are also welcome. 

Keywords: SMEs internationalization, Emerging markets SMES versus developed countries

SMES,  Social organization, International entrepreneurship and cognition

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