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SMES' internationalisation: Discovering a model of influential factors from an eastern-developing nation

Che-Senik, Z., Scott-Ladd, B., Entrekin, L. and Sham, R.Md. (2007) SMES' internationalisation: Discovering a model of influential factors from an eastern-developing nation. In: ICSB World Conference 2007: At the crossroads of east and west, new opportunities for entrepreneurship and small business, 13 - 15 June, Turku, Finland

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Western countries have discovered factors influencing small-to-medium enterprises (SME) internationalisation, yet Eastern nations are still struggling for empirical evidence. This article seeks to investigate the influential factors, identify the most influential characteristics driving SMEs to internationalise and develop a model of SME internationalisation within an Eastern-developing nation, Malaysia. A panel of 16 experts, including academicians, policymakers, supporting government agencies, the Chamber of Commerce and research institutes took part in long distance telephone conversations. To ensure the authenticity of the experts’ stances, they were selected based on their positions, qualifications, affiliations, age and length of working experience. The Expert Panel was identified from the internet and through personal contacts. Majority of the experts involve directly with the SME development in Malaysia. The underlying assumption of this Expert Panel is to give relevant opinions and a legitimate understanding of the internationalisation process of Malaysian SME. The findings from a modified Delphi Technique indicate that networking is the most influential factor, followed by firm characteristics, industry factor, external influence and motivational aspects. Therefore, a Malaysian model of the factors influencing SME internationalization is derived. To deal with complexity of networking as a crucial means to internationalization, a networking linkages model is proposed for practicality. In particular, this study provides some insights into SMEs internationalisation process and identifies suggestions for future research.

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