Supporting SMEs´ Internationalisation through a Deeper Understanding of Government Comprehensive Support: A Case Study of German Manufacturing SMEs

Stopfkuchen, Michael (2021) Supporting SMEs´ Internationalisation through a Deeper Understanding of Government Comprehensive Support: A Case Study of German Manufacturing SMEs. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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This research addressed the question ‘How can German SMEs use a variety of economic promotion programmes provided by government organisations to foster internationalisation’ and aimed to develop a theoretical framework for the promotion of international activities. It has become apparent that this subject was underrepresented in the literature. In particular, the anchoring of a government network perspective, which forms the basis of the theoretical framework for a comprehensive government support system to foster internationally active SMEs, was not existent within the institutional network theory.
The philosophical worldview pragmatism is the methodological background. Based on this, a mixed method approach was chosen, which consisted of a preliminary study part and the main study part. The preliminary study included a quantitative enterprise survey and a usability testing of the central funding database available to enterprises in Germany. Based on the findings from these studies, a case study followed to gain deeper knowledge from the perspective of different enterprises in order to derive a useful theoretical framework.
Based on the empirical findings, a theoretical framework emerged consisting of a closely interconnected governmental support network that includes various governmental organisations offering support instruments for SMEs’ internationalisation. As a key success factor within this one-house approach, the SMEs highlighted the involvement of a central coordinating body that manages the majority of the interaction between the government organisations and the enterprises. Furthermore, the findings implied several critical success factors that are important for an efficient use by the enterprises.

The findings from the research confirmed that a stricter government network perspective is needed within the existing institutional network theory. This emerging approach must be the basis on which SMEs can benefit more from a comprehensive government support network in internationalisation. The findings expanded the knowledge about the concrete elements of a coherent theoretical framework that was only rudimentarily anchored in the previous literature. In particular, the inclusion of the enterprise's point of view in the development of a framework was important, as previous research focused strongly on the government perspective.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Network theory, institutional based view, policy framework, export, foreign direct investment
Subjects: N100 Business studies
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2021 14:29
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2021 14:30

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