This chapter contributes to the ongoing debate about how digitalisation affects the internationalisation of small- and medium-sized firms (SMEs). By applying the Uppsala Internationalisation Process model, this chapter examines the impact of e-commerce on the internationalisation of SMEs. The study uses a unique dataset, which includes 14,513 SMEs across several sectors in 34 countries. The results show that firms using the Internet as a means to provide information about the firm exhibit a higher degree of internationalisation, while using the Internet to facilitate transactions was found to have a positive impact on the ratio of foreign sales to the total sales; however, these foreign sales are likely to be concentrated in less regions/markets. Furthermore, perceived export barriers were found to be a significant moderator of the effects of e-commerce usage on international intensity and international diversification. This suggests that e-commerce does not automatically facilitate the internationalisation of SMEs.
I would like to thank the participants at a Paper Development Workshop in Oxford for their comments on an earlier version of this work. Special thanks go to Prof John Child and Prof Pervez Ghauri for their helpful suggestions during this seminar. In addition, a special thanks to two anonymous referees for insightful comments on an earlier version presented at 43rd European International Business Academy conference.
Eduardsen, J. (2018), "Internationalisation Through Digitalisation: the Impact of E-Commerce Usage on Internationalisation in Small- and Medium-Sized Firms", van Tulder, R., Verbeke, A. and Piscitello, L. (Ed.) International Business in the Information and Digital Age (Progress in International Business Research, Vol. 13), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 159-186. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1745-886220180000013008Download as .RIS
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