The Free University of Bozen – Bolzano is pleased to announce the
Interactive Research Development Workshop and Conference

Internationalization of SMEs in the Digital Age
– Opportunities and Threats – 

which will take place in Bozen – Bolzano (South Tyrol, Italy)
on April 29-30, 2019

 Submission Deadline: December 20, 2018


The so called and partly overemphasized “digital revolution” is certainly affecting the way firms will be organized with regard to value creation and delivery (Tilson, Lyytinen, & Sorensen, 2010; Yoo, Boland Jr., Lyytinen, & Majchrzak, 2012), how they will efficiently manage their production and operations, and how they will engage with their suppliers and customers. With regard to internationalization it will, on the one hand, change the competitive and collaborative landscape dramatically especially through providing opportunities for new collaborative relationships with private and public organizations across the globe (Coviello, Kano, & Lish, 2017). On the other hand, it may render traditional international partnerships obsolete as it will enable newcomers and incumbents to circumvent previously necessary intermediaries and establish direct relationships with customers, suppliers, and complementors.

In particular, digitalization has the potential to impact the main elements of the internationalization process of firms, for example, in terms of timing, pace, and rhythm of internationalization, location and entry mode choices, learning and knowledge recombination, and accessibility of resources and capabilities in home and host markets. It will change firms’ ability to mitigate and manage the liability of foreignness and outsidership (Coviello, Kano, & Liesh, 2017). This becomes especially apparent in the case of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) that –fostered by digitalization– will find effective ways to compete with large firms on a global scale through reducing their liability of smallness, i.e. especially their lack of financial and human resources.

Previous research has studied the influence of internet and other computer-based information system technologies on the internationalization strategies of firms (Ekeledo & Sivakumar, 2004; Petersen, Lawrence, & Liesh, 2002) as well as the internationalization of iBusiness firms (Brouthers, Geisser, & Rothlauf, 2016), however, often without taking the comparison of existing SMEs with entrepreneurial and large firms center stage. Although the impact of digitalization on the internationalization of firms is a topic that received significant attention, there is ample evidence that many issues regarding the effect of the digital revolution on the internationalization process of SMEs are yet to be addressed by IB scholars from a theoretical but also practical perspective.


Keynote Speech:

Prof. Farok Contractor
‘Distinguished Professor’ in the Management and Global Business Department at Rutgers Business School – Rutgers University

On the importance of international strategic alliances for the success of SMEs internationalization


Program Committee:

Farok Contractor – Rutgers Business School

Timothy Devinney – Leeds University Business School

Marjaana Gunkel – Free University Bozen – Bolzano, local host

Antonio Majocchi -University of Pavia

Michael Nippa – Free University Bolzen – Bolzano, local host

Torben Pedersen – Bocconi and Copenhagen Business School

Christian Schwens – University of Cologne