Discovering Gaps in Internationalization Competences of SMEs–a Comparative Case Study of Austrian SMEs

Johanna Anzengruber


This article adds to the debate on internationalization competences of SMEs. After an examination of the most influential papers, we systematically discuss the role of individual and organizational competence gaps before and during the internationalization phase. In more detail, we raise the question what kinds of competences gaps hinder SMEs to go international and what competence gaps arise during the internationalization. This is done using a comparative case study design with competence gap data from twenty-four SMEs in China and Austria. Our research reveals severe differences in competence gaps among those SMEs who have internationalized and those who will internationalize theirs businesses. Indeed, we found out that while internationalized SMEs perceive organizational competence gaps as higher as individual ones – exactly the opposite is found at the SMEs working exclusively in their home markets. We conclude by proposing a systematic, continuous, and task-oriented allocation of the competence development efforts.

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Business and Management Studies     ISSN 2374-5916 (Print)     ISSN 2374-5924 (Online)

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