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The Resource-based View and SME Internationalisation: An Emerging Economy Perspective



Objective: The aim of the paper is to advance the development of theory in the field of international business by seeking to understand to what extent the resource-based view (RBV), built on the experience and evidence from advanced economies, helps understand the internationalisation process of emerging economy SMEs.

Research Design & Methods: The paper is built on a systematic literature review of peer-reviewed journal articles on SME internationalisation motives and enablers in emerging economies.

Findings: The RBV arguments explain the internationalisation process of emerging economy SMEs only to some extent. In contrast to advanced economy firms, the internationalisation of SMEs from emerging economies is more likely to be driven by the exploitation of cost advantage, and motivation to gain new knowledge that is unavailable domestically and enhance their domestic market reputation. Besides it is more handicapped by a lack of internationalisation experience or international ties.

Implications & Recommendations: To understand the process of emerging economy SME internationalisation, it is necessary to study to what extent other logics contribute to its explication. Further research should also seek to synthesise findings of the above major theoretical frameworks in the context of emerging economy SME internationalisation process.

Contribution & Value Added: The originality of this work lies in studying the internationalisation motives and enablers of indigenous SMEs in emerging economies and challenging the applicability of the RBV arguments in this specific context.


resource-based view, internationalisation, emerging economy, SME



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