SME international business models: The role of context and experience

John Child*, Linda Hsieh, Said Elbanna, Joanna Karmowska, Svetla Marinova, Pushyarag Puthusserry, Terence Tsai, Rose Narooz, Yunlu Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Citations (Scopus)


This paper addresses two questions through a study of 180 SMEs located in contrasting industry and home country contexts. First, which business models for international markets prevail among SMEs and do they configure into different types? Second, which factors predict the international business models that SMEs follow? Three distinct international business models (traditional market-adaptive, technology-exploiter, and ambidextrous explorer) are found among the SMEs studied. The likelihood of SMEs adopting one business model rather than another is to a high degree predictable with reference to a small set of factors: industry, level of home economy development, and decision-maker international experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)664-679
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of World Business
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Business model
  • Home economy development
  • Industry
  • International experience
  • Internationalization
  • SMEs


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