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New models of internationalization in small traditional manufacturing firms

Reshaping the Boundaries of the Firm in an Era of Global Interdependence

ISBN: 978-0-85724-087-3, eISBN: 978-0-85724-088-0

Publication date: 12 November 2010


Purpose – In accordance to the globalized and competitive environment, traditional manufacturing sectors’ companies are being particularly forced to reshape their global strategy and reconfigurate their activities to survive. Due to the fact that these firms present special characteristics that make the change extremely difficult, this chapter tries to analyze the influence of managerial attitudes and characteristics on the decision of their international strategy.

Methodology/approach – The study was carried out in Spanish traditional manufacturing sectors through a questionnaire, obtaining a final sample of 115 SMEs. We performed a cluster analyses to classify groups of companies, innovative and rigid, and assessed their different perceptions and characteristics.

Findings – Our results show that the adoption of these new models of internationalization is indeed related to the attitude and characteristics of managers. We found that more innovative strategies are associated with managers with intermediate experience in business, higher education levels, and a more realistic perception of the severity of the situation, the influence of the environment, and its strategic capabilities.

Practical implications – This chapter evidences that there are still important internal barriers affecting the international competitiveness of these companies. We propose that more traditional strategies of internationalization in the manufacturing sectors should move toward more complex models that combine the advantages of the cooperation, multilocation, diversification, and integration of those key activities of the value chain. Therefore, we display the critical role of managers’ profile in this process.

Originality/value of the chapter – Despite the fact that many works have analyzed the determinants of strategic change, we offer a wider view considering the essential role of managers, by combining demographic and perception variables. Furthermore, we based this idea on the theoretical perspective known as managerial cognition; therefore, we give new explanatory factors on the decision of the international strategy.


Villar, C., Linares-Navarro, E. and Toral, D. (2010), "New models of internationalization in small traditional manufacturing firms", Pla-Barber, J. and Alegre, J. (Ed.) Reshaping the Boundaries of the Firm in an Era of Global Interdependence (Progress in International Business Research, Vol. 5), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 75-96.



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