Suggestions Regarding Themes & Topics

We invite international scholars interested in the field of SME research, including senior PhDs and PostDocs, to submit their research and work-in-progress on the internationalization of SMEs -in the digital age- to our highly interactive conference. While digitalization is the theme of the second ISME conference at the University of Bolzano, we are open as well for new research that addresses the formulation and implementation process of internationalization strategies of SMEs, antecedents and success factors, or the impact of different institutional regimes (tax, intellectual property rights, financial support). As interdisciplinary research will be key in the future we explicitly invite researchers from different (sub)disciplines such as organizational behavior, human resource management, entrepreneur­ship, marketing, innovation management, family business research, economics as well as accounting to share their approaches and insights with colleagues. We are particularly interested in empirical and conceptual papers that advance already existing knowledge about the internationalization of SMEs. Although we encourage you to submit work-in-progress deriving from current research projects as well as controversial and provocative essays that addresses innovative research questions, we need to emphasize that your work must comply to scientific standards and has to be of high quality regarding application of theories, appropriate methods, comprehensive analyses, as well as formal requirements.

Important research questions that may be explored are for example the following:

  • Does the strength of family ties influence the process of internationalization? Does generational transition affect the intent of family firms to internationalize?
  • What is the potential of new digital technologies for reshaping business functions and global value chains of family SMEs? Do family SMEs’ characteristics affect the global value chain governance differently from large MNEs and how do they decide for example on internalization and outsourcing of activities?
  • To what extent do new digital technologies trigger off new governance and coordination mechanisms of family SMEs?
  • How can family SMEs in craft industries leverage digitalization to internationalize as a means to survive?
  • Do family SMEs bridge the cultural distance in a different way than non-family SMEs through building personal relationships with foreign partners? Are family SMEs more willing to build collaborations with foreign family SMEs? Why/why not?
  • Is there any risk of tradition/heritage dilution/loss in externalizing operations abroad for family SMEs and how can they prevent or mitigate such risks?
  • What are the socioemotional drivers that shape the location on international operations of family SMEs? Do family SMEs de-internationalize differently from other types of business (e.g. large firms, small nonfamily firms)?
  • To what extent do internationalization strategies and processes of family-firm SMEs from different institutional contexts (e.g., developed economies, emerging economies) similar?
  • What are the economic and non-economic (e.g., family-centered) benefits and detriments associated with internationalization in the family business context?

Interested scholars may contact Prof. Alfredo De Massis and Prof. Michael Nippa or any other member of the conference organizers for any kind of request and may already attach a draft of their research idea.