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Title: The internationalisation process of small and medium-sized management consultancies in the UK
Author: Deprey, Brynn Darin
ISNI:       0000 0004 2707 1722
Awarding Body: Anglia Ruskin University
Current Institution: Anglia Ruskin University
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis focuses on how small to medium-sized management consultancies internationalise, as this is an under-researched area. Investigation focuses on identifying the factors that facilitate international market success for these small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the challenges they encounter, and how those challenges have been overcome. The relevance of SME internationalisation theories is explored for SME management consultancies in the UK. The study is exploratory, phenomenological and framed within an interpretive research paradigm. Primary data was gathered qualitatively using multiple (9) case studies, collected principally through semi-structured interviews. This empirical research, one of the first to focus solely on SME management consultancies, finds the owner/founders as the key driver of internationalisation. Their past experience enables an international outlook and brings established networks to firm formation. The findings highlight the relevance of intangible resources: the firms’ skills, competencies and networking capabilities, as integral to successful internationalisation. Additional key critical success factors are niche market specialisation, firm reputation, firm location, ability for service provision modification and the role of technology. There are observed firm size-related differences in the challenges these firms face, with smaller-sized firms being more vulnerable to challenges from the external environment, including the 2008 financial crisis. Firms are able to overcome these challenges with the help of their networks. Other challenges stem from the firm’s service provision: difficulty in finding skilled staff and communication with clients. The findings suggest applicability for other knowledge-intensive firms. The research contributes to closing the gap in literature on how firms successfully provide services internationally and in so doing advances theoretical understanding of SME service internationalisation. This theory-building research demonstrates partial relevance of Stage Theory, Networking Theory, and Born Global Theory, but overall the resource-based view was found as the most relevant to understanding the internationalisation process of SME management consultancies. This sets a foundation for further research on the internationalisation process of other knowledge-intensive firms.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) ; service sector ; critical success factor (CSF) ; internationalisation theory ; management consultancy