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Title: Essays on SMEs' internationalisation : an empirical analysis using large-scale survey data
Author: Idris, Bochra
ISNI:       0000 0004 7969 9482
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis uses new and large scale survey data, extracted from the United Kingdom (UK) Longitudinal Small Business Survey (UKLSBS, 2015, 2016) to carry out three empirical studies to investigate and shed more light on: first, the relationship between local interpersonal networks and internationalisation of small and medium-sized firms (SMEs); second, the relationship between training and performance for internationalised and non-internationalised SMEs; and third, the effect of outward internationalisation, inward internationalisation and both outward-inward internationalisation on different types of innovation undertaken by SMEs. The first study shows that there is a positive and significant relationship between local interpersonal networks and internationalisation. In particular, the results show that networking behaviour for internationalisation responds to the size of a firm. Specifically, the study finds that the role of formal interpersonal networks, such as accountants and banks, on internationalisation increases as the size of the firm increases, while the importance of informal interpersonal networks such as family and friends becomes weaker. The second study finds that employees' training (i.e., formal and/or informal) positively and significantly affects the actual and intended performance of SMEs, while the magnitude of the combined effect is stronger than the individual ones. The results show, however, that only the combined measure of owner-managers' training (i.e., formal and informal) positively and significantly affects the actual and intended performance of SMEs. When differentiating between SMEs according to their internationalisation activities (i.e., those who export and those who do not export), the results show that an employee's training (i.e., formal and/or informal) positively and significantly affects the actual and intended performance of SMEs in non-internationalised firms. For internationalised firms, however, the study finds that a positive association only exists between the combined measure of owner-managers' training (i.e., formal and informal) and intended performance. Finally, the results of the final empirical study show that all internationalisation operations are positively associated with innovation in SMEs, however the effect is found to be stronger for the combined outward-inward internationalisation operations compared to a single international operation. Nevertheless, when differentiating between firms according to their size-bands (i.e., micro, small and medium), the results show that although innovation responds to different internationalisation operations in micro and small firms, for medium-sized firms, only undertaking outward and inward internationalisation operations simultaneously increases the probability of undertaking innovation. Overall, the findings of the three empirical chapters make a significant contribution to the SME, International Business (IB) and Innovation Management (IM) literatures, highlighting the importance of networking for internationalisation decisions, the differences in the nature of training that should be carried out within internationalised firms to boost performance, and how internationalisation activity can trigger innovation in SMEs. The results contribute to existing academic and policy debates, and provide new and more refined evidence for academics, policy makers, practitioners and other stakeholders.
Supervisor: Saridakis, George ; Khan, Zaheer Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HF5351 Business