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SMEs and business internationalisation: the contribution of communication skills

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posted on 2023-08-30, 15:07 authored by Terry Mughan
Recent decades have seen rapid and significant changes in the field of international business and management. Whilst the globalisation of economies and markets has led to greater frequency of communication and interaction between companies and people of different cultures and native tongues, academic research has struggled to keep pace with the nature and consequences of better communication technologies and greater human mobility. Much literature remains rooted in dated business and economic paradigms of relevance to few companies and takes little account of new forms of behaviour. This thesis examines the contribution of communication skills, in the form of cultural and linguistic competence, to the development and performance of companies and managers, primarily SMEs, in their international markets. Drawing on original data from regional and international studies conducted over the last ten years, it illuminates the shift from the exporting to the internationalising model, from the language training to the intercultural model and from the training to the developmental/consulting model, as these changes have manifested themselves as responses to the new global business environment. This shift has been very visible in business reality and the policy sphere. Academic literature has struggled to present these phenomena coherently and the author’s contribution to the generation of new data and the development of new theories and perspectives is argued and evidenced. Over-simplification of the actual market operations of international SMEs, the role of foreign language competence in business performance and the presentation of culture as a key phenomenon are presented as original contributions by the author based on primary research data. The place of this contribution in the literature is discussed and areas and issues requiring further investigation are highlighted, particularly the need for more firm and individual-based research, preferably of a longitudinal nature.



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