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Micromultinationals’ Internal Development during Internationalization

The Future Of Global Organizing

ISBN: 978-1-78560-423-2, eISBN: 978-1-78560-422-5

Publication date: 14 October 2015



The study presented in this chapter examines an increasingly important phenomenon in the internationalization of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Following technological developments, more and more SMEs are using high-commitment foreign market entry modes. These firms, called micromultinationals, have established subsidiaries in international markets despite their resource constraints. The study is an examination of a micromultinational’s development during its internationalization life-cycle regarding changes in international entry mode, organizational structure, communication, sharing of knowledge and control.


A multiple case study method has been selected for this research. Data has been collected from four Finnish micromultinationals.


The study postulates that despite smallness and youth, immediate multinationalization is possible, as is the simultaneous expansion of both geographic scope and operations. The international operation mode of the case companies has moved toward the highest-commitment entry modes during their internationalization life-cycle. The micromultinational’s globalization process takes time and continuous readjustments and development. Some of the cases have struggled with issues related to things such as communication and sharing of knowledge throughout their existence.

Research implications

The results of the study suggest that any micromultinational should carefully consider their choice of investment mode (wholly owned greenfield vs. partly owned acquisition) to avoid the stagnation phase. The unlearning is difficult and with a certain path dependency, learning advantage of newness does not seem to exist even if a firm is small and relatively young.


This is the first study to examine the internal development of a micromultinational company during its internationalization life-cycle.



Vanninen, H. and Kuivalainen, O. (2015), "Micromultinationals’ Internal Development during Internationalization", The Future Of Global Organizing (Progress in International Business Research, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 201-226.



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