Absorptive capacity and internationalization of New Zealand high-tech SMEs in the agro-technology sector
Sedoglavich, V. (2008). Absorptive capacity and internationalization of New Zealand high-tech SMEs in the agro-technology sector (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2606
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2606
This study investigates the relationships between firm's technology, absorptive capacity and the internationalization process in the high-tech SMEs. The research identifies the most influential factors that affect the international activities and expansion decisions of New Zealand high-tech SMEs with core capabilities in agro-technology. Mixed methods, qualitative and quantitative elements in the data collection and analysis, were employed in this research for a reason that a deeper understanding of the research subject and the analysis of complex issues such as the internationalization process and absorptive capacity required methodological variety. The use of qualitative and quantitative methods took place in parallel. Both methods were used to study the same subject but they had specific objective related purposes and they offered the possibility of developing rich empirical data as well as a more comprehensive understanding of the subject under the study. The findings show that it is absorptive capacity that explains internationalization process, not internationalization process that explains absorptive capacity. The practice of internationalizing is as much a reflection of a firm's absorptive capacity as it is its determinant. The research identifies that high-tech SMEs possess technological and non-core absorptive capacity which in a different way influence firms' strategies. The research suggests that firm's technological capabilities and the advantage of specialized knowledge along with their limited non-core absorptive capacity act as constraints to the development of the future international strategy in high-tech SMEs. The study expands the existing literature on internationalization by developing variables for evaluating absorptive capacity in firms. This helped develop an absorptive capacity model which can be used as a valuable tool for self-assessment by firms to facilitate gaining insight towards further growth and development. The research suggested that if firms were able to measure its absorptive capacity this may result in improved business activities and enhanced presence in the world market. The results of this study should encourage firms to identify, capture and articulate knowledge achieved by their ventures. Managers must develop and nurture skills that ensure effective integration of learning as their firms expand, particularly internationally. These findings and absorptive capacity model offered as a tool should encourage managers to explore when, where, and how to best use firm's resources in the business operations. This is particularly important in regards to the research context (high-tech SMEs) where scientists are managers as well.
The University of Waikato
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