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The importance of top leaders for international diversification: an empirical study of Swedish SMEs
Linnaeus University, School of Business and Economics, Department of Marketing.
2013 (English)In: Paper presented at EIASM 4th workshop on top management teams and business strategy, Top management teams in an international context: an institutional perspective, Copenhagen, Denmark, October 17-18, 2013, EIASM , 2013, 1-18 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Purpose - To explain the importance of top leaders on international diversification among SMEs.

Design/methodology/approach – Empirical data was collected among 98 micro, small and medium-sized furniture producers in Sweden using a survey questionnaire. The impact of top leader characteristics on international diversification was assessed using multiple linear regression analysis.

Findings – The result is in line with the strategic choice perspective, and upper echelon theory, in that individuals impact the organizational behavior through strategic decisions. More precisely, the top leader’s attitude was found to have a strong direct impact on the firm’s international behavior, i.e. international diversification. Also, the top leaders’ foreign experience from living and working abroad had an impact on international diversification. Finally, market knowledge measured in terms of current customer certainty impacted international diversification positively. Of the control variables, only firm size appeared to be of any importance, with an increase in size having a positive impact on international diversification.

Research limitations/implications - The empirical data used originate from within a highly homogeneous group of companies, restricting generalization of the results. In addition, the number of respondents was low. The key informant approach was used, and thus collecting empirical data from other individuals constituting the corporate elite of the firm could be valuable.

Originality – In many studies striving to explain firm behavior the value of including cognitive measures is emphasized. Still demographic data frequently substitute for lack of cognitive data. Here, both demographic and cognitive measures at top leader level are included. In addition, while the association between the top leader of SMEs and the firms’ international behavior has been well researched, the impact of the top leader on the firm’s international conduct has been described as relatively unexplored. Here, such impact is in focus.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
EIASM , 2013. 1-18 p.
Keyword [en]
Strategic choice, International diversification, Top leader, Upper echelon, Managerial discretion, SME
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Economy, Business administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-63829OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-63829DiVA: diva2:1095545
Conference
EIASM 4th workshop on top management teams and business strategy, Top management teams in an international context: an institutional perspective, Copenhagen, Denmark, October 17-18, 2013
Available from: 2017-05-15 Created: 2017-05-15 Last updated: 2017-06-01Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf