SME Entrepreneurial Orientation, International Performance, and the Moderating Role of Strategic Alliances

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Abstract

International entrepreneurship research maintains that firms with strong entrepreneurial orientations expand to international markets to enhance performance. Yet these firms can suffer from resource constraints as they move abroad. To alleviate this problem, previous research has suggested participation in strategic alliances. We developed and tested a theoretical perspective that merged these ideas, maintaining that firm-level entrepreneurial orientation is associated with higher international performance both directly and in combination with participation in foreign market research or marketing alliances. Based on surveys of U.S. and U.K. firms, our findings indicate that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have higher international performance when they possess greater entrepreneurial orientation (EO) and when the type of alliance (research or marketing) used is aligned with the capabilities of the firm. Further we find that participating in alliances strengthens the relation between EO and international performance. These results have important implications for managers and policy makers interested in improving SME international performance.

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