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  • Public defence: 2019-08-30 13:15 B1014, Jönköping
    Kuiken, Andrea
    Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration. Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Center for Family Enterprise and Ownership (CeFEO).
    Exploring the internationalization of small and medium-sized enterprises as a discontinuous process2019Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Internationalization is an important growth strategy for small and medium-sizedenterprises (SMEs). Yet, it is also a complex process since it involves a large variety of decisions and addressing the diverse nature of and unfamiliarity with foreign markets can especially be challenging for SMEs. Because SMEs have fewer resources they tend to be less equipped for internationalization and become more vulnerable to changes in the external environment. Therefore, continued growth in foreign markets is not easy nor guaranteed and instead, SMEs can de-internationalize and potentially re-internationalize. Thus, internationalization can be described as a discontinuous process.

    To address the complexities of internationalization as a discontinuous process, this dissertation studies some key antecedents, mediating factors and performance effects associated with the discontinuous internationalization of SMEs. The dissertation comprises two quantitative studies, a qualitative study, and a conceptual essay. The first essay examines family involvement in SMEs as an antecedent of intermittent exporting building on the behavioral agency model and real options reasoning. Utilizing a unique longitudinal dataset of Swedish SMEs in the manufacturing and retail industry, it is found that family firms experience a higher degree of intermittent exporting than non-family firms. This relationship is moderated by the foreign background of the CEO, such that the degree of intermittent exporting reduces when family firms have a CEO with a foreign background.

    While research has addressed the motivations for de-internationalization, less is known about the de-internationalization process. The second paper studies the de-internationalization process building on two case studies. The findings indicate that attitudinal commitment can be a key mediating factor between motives for de-internationalization and the de-internationalization outcome. Different commitment profiles are identified in relation to the timing of de-internationalization, the effort put into executing the de-internationalization decision and the extent of de-internationalization.

    The third essay studies the performance effect of exit from exporting, using a longitudinal dataset of Swedish exporting SMEs in the manufacturing industry. This essay relies on the theoretical framework of the internationalization performance literature - which builds on transaction cost theory, resource-based view and learning theory – to hypothesize that exit from exporting can have benefits and costs and that the environmental circumstances influence whether the benefits or costs prevail. The findings show that exit from exporting can be beneficial for SME financial performance if the firm has high levels of available slack and when the firm is active in a dynamic environment.

    The fourth essay proposes that a focus on the behavioral theory of the firm can provide a basis for understanding the micro-processes in family firms that may affect discontinuities in the internationalization process. Family business internationalization literature has borrowed some aspects of the behavioral theory of the firm, like goal diversity and uncertainty avoidance. However, it has ignored others like problemistic search and learning. Building on the key concepts of quasiresolution of conflict, uncertainty avoidance, problemistic search and learning,future areas for research on family firm internationalization as a discontinuous process are identified in this essay.

    Overall, the dissertation responds to a call for research on the dynamics in the internationalization process and makes four important contributions to the literatures on SME internationalization, family business and internationalization performance. First, it shows how family control can influence intermittent exporting. Second, it adds to the discussion on de-internationalization of SMEs by highlighting the role of attitudinal commitment in the de-internationalization process. Third, it extends the socioemotional wealth perspective by adding a real options lens to it. Fourth, a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between exit from exporting and performance is provided by proposing that exit from exporting can have costs as well as benefits and showing empirically that under certain circumstances exit from exporting can be beneficial for SME performance.

  • Public defence: 2019-09-06 10:00 E1405 (Gjuterisalen), Jönköping
    Wlazlak, Paraskeva
    Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH, Industrial Product Development, Production and Design.
    Management of the industrialisation process in distributed geographical and organisational contexts2019Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Management of new product development (NPD) is one of the most critical capabilities of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The industrialisation process plays a major role in NPD, where the final verification of the product and production system takes place. It is during the industrialisation process that various disturbances arise; if these are not managed, they can delay the production start and prolong production ramp up.

    Based on two dimensions, geographical and organisational distribution, the following four different types of contexts are defined in this thesis: industrialisation in the local and intra-organisational context (type 1), industrialisation in the local and inter-organisational context (type 2), industrialisation in the international and intra-organisational context (type 3) and industrialisation in international and inter-organisational context (type 4). This thesis addresses types 2–4 and contributes to the literature, which has primarily dealt with the type 1 context. The purpose of the research presented in the thesis is expanding the knowledge on the industrialisation process in distributed geographical and/or organisational contexts with a focus on challenges and mechanisms; this will serve to control the challenges during the industrialisation process.

    The findings are based on data from three studies in the manufacturing industry, covering both single and multiple case studies. They reveal that there are some similarities between the type 2–4 contexts and challenges and mechanisms previously identified for the type 1 context. However, several unique challenges and mechanisms are found for the type 2–4 contexts. The findings also show that the challenges can be characterised as internal and external. Internal challenges appear in a single industrialisation site and are associated with internal organisational capabilities at the site. External challenges originate from the research and development (R&D) site and the integration between the R&D and industrialisation sites.

    The findings also reveal that the identified challenges disrupt the industrialisation process in various ways and create uncertainty and equivocality during the industrialisation process. The studies presented in this thesis show that, to deal with challenges that create uncertainty and equivocality, it is wise to allow ad hoc mechanisms to be used. One of the key conclusions is that when the industrialisation processes are carried out in type 2–4 contexts, there is a need to allow for flexibility regarding the use of mechanisms depending on the dynamics associated with the specific context.