Post-entry internationalization speed of SMEs : the role of relational mechanisms and foreign market knowledge

Zahoor, Nadia and Al-Tabbaa, Omar (2020) Post-entry internationalization speed of SMEs : the role of relational mechanisms and foreign market knowledge. International Business Review. ISSN 0969-5931 (In Press)

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    Abstract

    Prior research shows that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can utilize domestic networks with internationally experienced partners to accelerate their internationalization process. Yet, there is a lack of clarity and limited empirical evidence regarding the role of relational mechanisms within these networks in driving post-entry internationalization speed (PIS) of SMEs. To address this gap, this study examines the relational mechanisms-PIS relationship by drawing insights from the relational view to argue that foreign market knowledge mediates the relationship between relational mechanisms and PIS. The hypothesized study model is tested using a structural equation modelling (SEM) technique on a sample of 394 UK based manufacturing SMEs. Our results show that foreign market knowledge acquisition from domestic networks fully mediates the relationship between relational mechanisms and PIS. Additionally, the linkage between foreign market knowledge acquisition and PIS is moderated by domestic environmental hostility, such that the relationship is strengthened when domestic environmental hostility increases. We discuss the contributions and implications of our results and suggest opportunities for future research