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Influence of CEO and firm characteristics on SME internationalization: evidence from California

Milevoj, E., Beleska-Spasova, E. and Bommer, W. H. (2021) Influence of CEO and firm characteristics on SME internationalization: evidence from California. Journal of Small Business Strategy, 31 (5). ISSN 1081-8510

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To link to this item DOI: 10.53703/001c.29810


Drawing on upper echelons and internalization theories, this study investigates the association of CEO’s demographic characteristics and firm-specific advantages (FSAs) with the internationalization of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). To address the gaps identified in the literature, it was hypothesized that the founder’s characteristics, including educational level, previous start-up and industry experience, immigrant status, various international experiences, and foreign language ability, will be positively associated with SMEs’ internationalization. Additionally, the SMEs’ age and size measured by the amount of start-up capital, number of employees, and annual sales would also have a positive association with SMEs’ internationalization. These factors were analyzed using logistic regression, based on two separate datasets. The first dataset consisted of archival data from 2,240 California firms collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, while the second dataset was collected by the authors through an online survey of 329 SMEs. The study found that the CEO’s educational level, immigrant status, and previous work abroad experience, were positively associated with firm internationalization. SMEs’ size based on annual sales and number of employees were firm factors associated with internationalization. The findings point to the importance of people’s development, by both firms and government initiatives, in supporting and boosting SMEs’ internationalization.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
ID Code:102120
Uncontrolled Keywords:Strategy and Management
Additional Information:** From Crossref journal articles via Jisc Publications Router ** Journal IDs: eissn 2380-1751; pissn 1081-8510 ** History: issued 22-12-2021; published_online 22-12-2021
Publisher:Small Business Institute


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