Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Business

Faculty

Business and Law

First Advisor

Professor Rowena Barrett

Second Advisor

Dr Janice Redmond

Abstract

Research on small firm internationalization has been conducted intensively over the last few decades. However, knowledge of small firm internationalization varied. This research addresses the question of this variety in small firm internationalization applying the stage models theory, network theory, resource-based theory and international new venture. As the more recent studies showed that researchers have inclined towards one conclusive finding of the central role of the manager in internationalization, the key explanation of the inconclusive knowledge about small firm internationalization possibly resides in the decision made by the manager. Thus, this research explored the process of making an internationalization decision using rational decision-making process theory. To give a different perspective from the existing internationalization theories that have been developed around manufacturing firms in developed countries, this research was conducted on manufacturing firms in a developing country, Indonesia. A mixed-method approach was used to generate a model of internationalization decision-making process. The results showed that internationalization decision was a manager-centred activity and the manager’s capability and learning processes were essential in determining the decision. Accordingly, variety in managers’ capability was likely the cause of variety in small firm internationalization. Future research should be directed to the individual level of the manager instead of the firm or industry level if understanding internationalization of small firms is the aim. To be effectiveness, policy and programs addressing internationalization of small firms should consequently also be directed to increasing managerial capabilities and to providing real-life experience for learning.

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