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Internationalisation process for construction design service SMES on multi national projects
conference contributionposted on 2008-01-01, 00:00 authored by Kerry London
The internationalisation process has four key factors including market selection, decision to enter, entry modes and factors affecting entry modes. Small and medium sizes enterprises (SMEs) in the architectural engineering construction design services sector have demonstrated an increasing involvement in international markets. Consequently, activities and processes involved in internationalisation of these SME types present important issues for understanding from entrepreneurial, managerial and research perspectives. A research gap exists, however, through emphasis in past research having been given to large firms, and in particular those within manufacturing. This investigation identified similarities and differences between two construction design service SMEs who have been exporting to various localities including Eastern Europe, Africa, Middle East, UK, Asia and South America for typically more than two decades. Similarities and differences were identified within eight major constructs including: purpose, firm type, market image and design philosophy, entry mode strategy, institutional arrangement, factors affecting mode of entry, marketing selection and firm strategy in relation to project selection. The primary reasons for firms in both cases working in international markets were associated with the firms' motivations related to growth and enhancement of financial viability. Both firms were categorized as client following. This paper discusses the various internationalization processes and explains the reasons intrinsic to each case study. The two firms have been highly successful in the internationalization processes on multi-national projects die to a reflexive capability philosophy which incorporates continuous analysis and alignment between firm and locality characteristic to transform traditional barriers into enablers of success.