Mapping the resource gap of Swedish SMEs for internationalisation
Sammanfattning: The aim of the study is to capture and understand the perceptions of SMEs with regard to the resources that they feel are missing as they engage in the process of internationalisation. The methodology of this study follows a qualitative method wherein four SMEs were interviewed along with an industry expert using semi-structured interviews. The collated data was processed according to academic procedure outlined by Creswell & Creswell (2018). Thereafter, the categorised data was analysed using an adapted situational analysis inspired by the SOAR Framework to identify missing resources. Findings and Conclusion: SMEs from Gävleborg, Sweden wish to internationalise but face extensive barriers caused by the lack of necessary resources. The empirical findings align with existing literature in identifying a lack of financial, human, and intellectual resources among the SMEs. However, the findings reject theories which cited a lack of financial skills and physical resources as causal factors. The framework presented (Figure 3) was found to be useful for academics, in reality the SMEs in the Gävleborg region follow a different approach. Contribution of the Study: This study adds specific insights and knowledge about the resource gaps experienced by Swedish SMEs to the literature. The outcomes indicate significant obstacles facing SMEs in the early or pre-internationalisation stage. Practical recommendations from this study suggest regional development of mentoring, accessible funding, and networking support. Reflections on the Study and Suggestions for Future Research: The Covid-19 pandemic forced all interviews online but zoom recordings facilitated clear and accurate collection of empirical evidence. For the future, a longitudinal study of SMEs in Sweden comparing resource availability by region and/or by firm size merits investigation. Similarly, research into why the resource gaps among SMEs remain an issue would be a welcome addition to resource-based literature.
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