SME internationalisation: past, present and future trends

Cristina Fernandes, Pedro Mota Veiga, Stephan Gerschewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
287 Downloads (Pure)


Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) generally make a crucial contribution to local and national economies. As the market has become increasingly globalised over the past two decades, SMEs often feel the need and/or push to internationalise their business activities. It is in this need that several barriers and challenges are perceived by SMEs, since these companies generally have different characteristics and resources compared to large multinational enterprises (MNEs). Accordingly, given that the literature on internationalisation is rather extensive and relatively fragmented, this study seeks to systematically understand the scientific structure of research on the internationalisation of SMEs, and how it is organised.

The authors used a bibliometric approach and data co-citation to identify and systematise the scientific publications, intellectual structures and research trends related to SME internationalisation.

The study research reveals five approaches that theoretically support the internationalisation processes of SMEs: (1) internationalisation and networks; (2) internationalisation and venture capital; (3) internationalisation and intrinsic characteristics; (4) internationalisation and transactional costs; and (5) internationalisation and firm resources and capabilities.

This study has important implications for academics and practitioners who are likely to benefit from a holistic understanding of the different aspects of SME internationalisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-161
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Organizational Change Management
Issue number1
Early online date24 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2023


  • Bibliometric analysis
  • Cluster analysis
  • Co-citations
  • Internationalisation
  • SLR
  • SME
  • Systematic literature review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Decision Sciences
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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