To read this content please select one of the options below:

The Brexit dilemma for small business: European companies respond

Andrew Barron (TBS Business School, Toulouse, France)
Martine Boutary (TBS Business School, Toulouse, France)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Article publication date: 18 February 2020

Issue publication date: 26 May 2021




Focusing on the internationalization decisions of firms, this paper aims to investigate how managers of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) interpret and respond to exogenous shocks in their international sales markets. The authors specifically explore the effects of cognitive factors on French SME managers’ strategic decisions in response to the UK’s decision to leave the EU.


The research applies insights gleaned from the field of behavioral strategy, brought to life with illustrative examples of SME managers’ perceptions of Brexit derived from secondary and primary data sources.


The authors find that a combination of decision-makers’ previous experience and emotions can help account for their interpretations and strategic responses to Brexit.

Practical implications

The research highlights the need for managers to be more aware of how their personal characteristics can influence their mindsets and shape how they choose to respond to uncertain and ambiguous developments in foreign markets.


The research exposes important, behavioral dimensions of decision-making, which remain under-explored in the existing international business literature.



Barron, A. and Boutary, M. (2021), "The Brexit dilemma for small business: European companies respond", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 42 No. 3, pp. 196-205.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles