روند بین المللی سازی شرکتهای کوچک و متوسط: یک فرآیند نابسامان
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|19566||2012||7 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Volume 65, Issue 6, June 2012, Pages 745–751
Examining the explanatory power of Lindblom's muddling-through concept, the paper contributes to the literature on SMEs' internationalization processes by exploring the underlying rationality of decisions made. The conducted case study shows that whereas several of the studied firm's decision processes during its internationalization process reveal a high degree of congruence with Lindblom's muddling-through approach, others are similar to a root process, or hybrids of the two logics. Over time, decision-makers increasingly behave as rational-comprehensive decision-makers. This paper suggests that the driving forces for this change from muddling-through to rational decision-making are increased experience, increased knowledge and, not least, less goal ambiguity, all of which reduce the limitations in intellectual capacity and lack of knowledge, either through a learning process by managers in the firm or through the arrival of new managers with such experience and knowledge.
Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) increasingly internationalize their activities (e.g., Coviello and McAuley, 1999 and Ruzzier et al., 2006). Not surprisingly, SMEs' “[…] process of increasing involvement in international markets” (Welch and Luostarinen, 1988, p. 36) has led to substantial research. Studies on how SMEs—not least among them high-tech niche companies—internationalize challenge previously dominant incremental perspectives in explaining firms' internationalization processes (e.g., Johanson and Vahlne, 1977) and have resulted in a variety of new research streams, such as the literature on born globals (e.g., Knight and Cavusgil, 1996), international new ventures (e.g., Oviatt and McDougall, 1994), and international entrepreneurship (McDougall and Oviatt, 2000). In the born global and the international new venture literature, studies predominately focus on the distinctiveness of SMEs' internationalization processes, such as their early and rapid international expansions (e.g., Autio et al., 2000, Bell et al., 2003 and Crick and Jones, 2000), their extensive use of networks (e.g., Lu and Beamish, 2001), and their concurrent expansion in domestic and international markets (e.g., Coviello and Munro, 1997). A common explanation for these characteristics is SMEs' lack of resources and experiences (e.g., Lu and Beamish, 2001) and their focus on global niche markets (e.g., Knight, 2001). Studies within the field of international entrepreneurship further emphasize the importance of the decision-makers and show that decision-makers' attitudes toward internationalization (e.g., Oviatt and McDougall, 1994), as well as their ability to discover, evaluate and exploit business opportunities across national borders (e.g., Oviatt and McDougall, 2005), impact SMEs' internationalization patterns. The impact of other managerial cognitions, such as risk perception, tolerance for ambiguity, resistance to change and self-confidence, has also been shown to affect the decision-making process and thereby the nature of the internationalization process (e.g., Acedo and Jones, 2007 and Halikias and Panayotopoulou, 2003). There is a paucity of discussion on the underlying overall mental models used by decision-makers (cf. Zahra et al. (2005)). With the exception of Chandra et al. (2009)—who use the concept of effectuation developed by Sarasvathy (2001) to argue that decision-makers in SMEs, especially during the early phases of the internationalization process, focus on affordable loss, act opportunistically, and follow feelings and emotions rather than rational calculations—a lack of research that discusses the logic employed by decision-makers exists. Employing a case-study approach, the purpose of this paper is to contribute to the literature on SMEs' internationalization processes by emphasizing the underlying rationality of the decisions they make. The paper draws on the thoughts of Lindblom, 1959 and Lindblom, 1979 who in his two seminal papers introduces a successive limited comparison approach—often referred to as “muddling through”—in describing the underlying rationality of public administrators' decision-making processes. Three motivations have inspired the choice to examine the explanatory power of Lindblom's muddling-through approach in the context of SMEs' internationalization processes. First, the discussion by Lindblom (1959), in which he compares the rational comprehensive approach with the muddling-through approach, is reminiscent of the current dichotomy in the literature on SMEs' internationalization processes. Whereas some studies describe SMEs' internationalization as the result of leveraged contingencies—that is, serendipity affects the exploitation of unexpected discoveries (e.g., Agndal and Chetty, 2007, Coviello and Martin, 1999 and Ellis and Pecotich, 2001), other researchers emphasize the use of strategic decision-making models, competitive market analysis, and return on investment analysis (e.g., Crick and Spence, 2005). Second, similar to the context faced by policy-makers (Lindblom, 1959), SMEs' decision-makers cope with a high degree of uncertainty and goal ambiguity during the internationalization process (Acedo and Jones, 2007 and Chandra et al., 2009). Third, the muddling-through approach has proven valuable in areas other than in its original context, such as after-sale service (Zackariasson and Wilson, 2004), buyer behavior under conditions of uncertainty (Andersson and Wilson, 2006), and disruptions of projects (Hällgren and Wilson, 2007). In sum, the overall purpose of this paper is to contribute to the literature on SMEs' internationalization processes by exploring the underlying rationality of decisions made, but its specific aim is to examine the explanatory power of Lindblom's muddling-through concept in the context of decision-making during SME internationalization. By employing a hitherto neglected theoretical framework on rationality in the SME context, the study contributes to the literature on SMEs' internationalization in general and to studies on decision-making during this process in particular, and offers the opportunity to develop the concept of muddling-through (Lindblom, 1959 and Lindblom, 1979) further by placing the approach into a new empirical research context. The following paragraphs provide a brief review of the writings of Lindblom and others on the muddling-through approach. Following is a discussion on the research approach and a presentation of the case studied (the internationalization process of Q-Sense), in which the primary focus is on various important decisions Q-Sense made during its internationalization process. Next are reflections on the congruence between the decisions Q-Sense made during its internationalization process and Lindblom's muddling-through process. Finally, these reflections constitute the basis for a discussion of implications for the literature on SMEs' internationalization and for Lindblom's concept of muddling-through.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The specific aim of this paper was to examine the explanatory power of Lindblom's muddling-through approach in the context of decision-making during the process of SMEs' internationalization. The case study shows that many of the important decisions made during Q-Sense's internationalization process had to be made in a complex context similar to the one Lindblom, 1959 and Lindblom, 1979 described, so clarification of goals was difficult. In addition, the types of problems that needed to be solved are reminiscent of the problems described by Lindblom. Not surprisingly, several of Q-Sense's decision processes reveal a high degree of congruence with Lindblom's muddling-through approach. Then again, the case also revealed that some of the decision-making processes are similar to a root process (Lindblom, 1959). The case contained also examples of decisions made that are hybrids of the two logics. Hence, studying an SME's internationalization process with the help of the dichotomy between the rational-comprehensive decision process and the disjointed incremental decision processes (Lindblom, 1959 and Lindblom, 1979), portrays reality as similar to that the prevailing literature on international entrepreneurship portrays; whereas some studies describe the internationalization process as one based on analysis and rational decision-making, others argue that the process lacks rhyme or reason (Chandra et al., 2009). In other words, while the findings of the present case study cannot be generalized without further research (cf. Yin, 1994 and Merriam, 1998), the study shows that Lindblom, 1959 and Lindblom, 1979 conceptualizations provide a useful analytical tool in understanding the decision logic SMEs employ during their internationalization processes. Decisions Q-Sense made early in its internationalization process show a higher degree of congruence with the muddling-through approach. Evidence from the case suggests that, over time, decision-makers increasingly behave as rational-comprehensive decision-makers. This observation is in line with the findings of Chandra et al. (2009), who argue that SMEs in the early stages of the internationalization process follow a spontaneous, effortless, and heuristic type of reasoning, but in the later stages tend to use clearer criteria when evaluating internationalization opportunities and to become more selective in terms of partners. This study suggests that the driving forces for this change from muddling-through to rational decision-making increase experience, increased knowledge and, not least, less goal ambiguity, all of which reduce the limitations in intellectual capacity and lack of knowledge that Lindblom (1959) discusses, either through a learning process by managers in the firm or through the arrival of new managers with such experience and knowledge. Finally, in addition to the call for further empirical studies on the decision-making logic employed during SMEs' internationalization processes using Lindblom's muddling-through approach, the analysis of the muddling-through approach should emphasize the decision-makers' perceived context in order to highlight the personal attributes of the decision-maker and introduce a learning perspective.