Why are some Spanish manufacturing firms internationalizing rapidly? The role of business and institutional international networks

  • Belso-Martínez J
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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to examine the profile of international manufacturing firms located in Spain. After reviewing previous research on the internationalization of small and medium companies, we will look at whether the relevance of certain characteristics and key internationalization factors differ between firms following the traditional gradual internationalization process and firms internationalizing rapidly. Basically, economic literature points out that clients', suppliers', competitors' and institutions' networks and differentiation advantages such as marketing or technology play an essential role in the acceleration of the internationalization process. Our empirical analysis for the Valencian Community (a southern Spanish region) shows that some small and medium-sized companies exhibit an accelerated internationalization process. Research findings evidence that firms which admitted an accelerated internationalization process present greater integration in client networks and greater international orientation of sector and company. Our investigation does not find greater differentiation for rapidly internationalized Spanish manufacturing firms. Neither does it recognize suppliers', competitors' and institutions' networks as key factors for developing a rapid internationalization process. Policy-makers and public agencies can benefit from these results: manufacturing sectors appear as targets for programmes focused on rapid internationalization promotion, networking and knowledge-based activities should be constantly encouraged in order to accelerate the internationalization process, entrepreneurs' and managers' international orientation and capabilities should also be promoted if more rapid internationalization process is desirable.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Industry
  • Internationalization process
  • Small and medium enterprises
  • Spain

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