International expansion is taking off, spurred further by the vertiginous pace of mergers and acquisitions in Europe. While some companies hit the mark with their ventures, others fail miserably. Why is this? Harry G. Barkema, professor at the University of Tilburg and expert in internationalization, offers us an explanation in his article, revealing the five strategies that have proven to be useful for achieving success by the multinationals that have used them.
Additionally, the process of internationalization does not affect only multinationals and large enterprises. The European Union enlargement and the lowering of trade barriers have driven the emergence of a new actor on a massive scale: SMEs. Although defining internationalization strategy requires active participation by executives in these companies, the ones to ultimately implement the strategies are the middle managers. Research into the field of strategy has stressed the invaluable role that middle managers play in large companies. Nonetheless, little is known about their involvement in the process of internationalization, and even less about their strategic role in SMEs.
In this edition, we present a study on the level of implication of middle managers in the formulation of international strategy in small and middle-sized companies. The authors, IESE Prof. Johanna Mair and research assistant Claudia Thurner, develop a useful framework for actively involving middle managers who work in these types of companies in the process of internationalization. The study was sponsored by the Anselmo Rubiralta Center for Globalization and Strategy and Spain’s Ministry of Education and Science.
Professor Mair closes this issue with a call to companies, both large and SMEs, to get to know their middle managers better and consider their vast potential when developing and implementing strategy.
Joan Enric Ricart