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Hybrid business offerings in small internationalisers: a mixed-method analysis of internal capabilities through hesitant fuzzy information

Hannan Amoozad Mahdiraji (School of Business, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK)
Aliasghar Abbasi Kamardi (Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran)
Vahid Jafari-Sadeghi (Aston Business School, Aston University, Birmingham, UK)
Seyed Hossein Razavi Hajiagha (Department of Management, Faculty of Management and Finance, Khatam University, Tehran, Iran)
Sylvaine Castellano (Métis Lab, EM Normandie Business School, Le Havre, France)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 15 December 2023

Issue publication date: 10 April 2024




In this research, the initial list of internal capabilities in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) leading to success in international markets has been extracted. Then, the most relevant capabilities to international SMEs under servitisation and hybrid offerings have been screened. Next, the selected capabilities have been classified, and ultimately the relationship amongst the capabilities has been analysed. The conceptual model for SMEs participating in international markets with hybrid offerings has been illustrated.


A literature review has been employed to extract the initial list of internal capabilities to address the research objectives. Then, a novel hesitant fuzzy Delphi (HFD) method has been developed to select the most relevant capabilities for SMEs for hybrid offerings in international markets by using the experts opinions. Subsequently, a novel hesitant fuzzy interpretive structural modelling (HFISM) has been developed to classify the capabilities, design a level-based conceptual model and present the relationship amongst the prominent capabilities.


After the literature review, sixteen internal capabilities leading to success in the international market via hybrid offerings have been extracted. Then, eight selected capabilities were chosen for further investigation by applying 15 expert opinions and via the HFD approach. According to HFISM results, a level-based conceptual model was emanated, and “ability to take advantage of international opportunities”, “financial strength”, “technology level” and “efficient innovation management” were considered as the most fundamental capabilities resulting in successful hybrid offerings in international markets.


Alongside the multi-layer decision-making approach developed in this manuscript to analyse the internal capabilities roles in hybrid offering success towards international markets, to the best knowledge of the authors, the hesitant fuzzy approaches developed in this article have not been previously presented by any other scholar. A novel HFD approach has been designed for consensus amongst the experts under uncertain circumstances. Furthermore, a novel HFISM has been suggested and employed in this research to comprehend the relationship amongst the internal capabilities.



Since submission of this article, the following author(s) have updated their affiliation(s): Hannan Amoozad Mahdiraji is at the Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.


Amoozad Mahdiraji, H., Abbasi Kamardi, A., Jafari-Sadeghi, V., Razavi Hajiagha, S.H. and Castellano, S. (2024), "Hybrid business offerings in small internationalisers: a mixed-method analysis of internal capabilities through hesitant fuzzy information", International Marketing Review, Vol. 41 No. 2, pp. 411-439.



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