A cross-national study of internationalisation barriers with reference to SME value chain





internationalisation, SMEs, value chain, internationalisation barriers


Research background: The study responses to the internationalisation issue, one of the essential factors of SMEs growth. Particularly to companies' efforts towards setting international cooperation and circumstances obstructing these struggles. The study takes into consideration that internationalisation in specific areas of company's operations differs noticeably. Similarly, different barriers may arise depending on the areas of the company's value chain that are the focus of the enterprises' internationalisation strategies.

Purpose of the article: This study aims to identify barriers to internationalisation regarding various areas of a company's value chain. The study employs the Value Chain Model by Porter.

Methods: The field data was collected using a questionnaire survey on a sample of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) located in countries in the Baltic Sea region (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland). A multiple regression analysis was performed to determine the impact of barriers on internationalisation.

Finding & value added: The study indicates three areas that are most often the subject of internationalisation in SMEs: operations, outbound logistics and marketing and sales. Barriers differ between value chain areas; however, cultural differences and competition are perceived as the most important hindering factors by companies experienced in internationalisation. At the same time, barriers regarding knowledge and finance diminish when companies becoming more experienced in internationalisation in particular value chain areas. This study is one of few employing the value chain framework to examine internationalisation.


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How to Cite

Urban, W., Krot, K., & Tomaszuk, A. (2023). A cross-national study of internationalisation barriers with reference to SME value chain. Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy, 18(2), 523–549. https://doi.org/10.24136/eq.2023.016