Journal of International Entrepreneurship

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 230–253 | Cite as

Internationalization capabilities of SMEs: A comparative study of the manufacturing and industrial service sectors

  • Louis Raymond
  • Josée St-Pierre
  • Sylvestre Uwizeyemungu
  • Thang Le Dinh


Nowadays, the global economy requires developed countries to undergo industrial restructuring. In this context, industrial small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need to collaborate with the service sector to enhance their competitiveness and strategic capabilities. Indeed, industrial service SMEs have been the object of particular attention from governments since these enterprises have become a key element for manufacturing and innovation networks in developed countries. However, these firms, as well as the manufacturing SMEs they serve, now face the challenge to internationalize. This paper addresses the of the strategic capabilities required by SMEs in general, and manufacturing and industrial service SMEs in particular, to internationalize, as well as the effect of these capabilities on their export performance. These strategic capabilities are presented in a research model, which relates human resources (HR), product development capabilities and market development capabilities to export performance. In testing this model with a sample of 347 Canadian and French SMEs, similarities and differences between the two types of SMEs are highlighted.


SME Industrial services Manufacturing SMEs Internationalization Strategic capabilities 


De nos jours, l’économie mondiale oblige les entreprises des pays développés à subir un processus de restructuration. Dans ce contexte, les entreprises industrielles se doivent de collaborer avec le secteur des services afin d’améliorer leur compétitivité. En effet, les PME de services industriels ont fait l’objet d’une attention particulière de la part des gouvernements, puisqu’elles sont devenues indispensables à la bonne marche des réseaux de production et d’innovation dans les pays développés. Toutefois, tout comme les PME industrielles avec lesquelles elles collaborent, elles font aujourd’hui face au défi que représente l’internationalisation. On doit alors se questionner sur les capacités stratégiques dont ont besoin les PME en général, et plus précisément les PME industrielles et celles de services industriels, de même que sur l’effet de ces capacités sur leur performance internationale. Un modèle de recherche qui allie les ressources humaines, les capacités en développement de produits et celles en développement de marchés au rendement à l’exportation nous permet d’identifier les similarités et les différences à cet égard entre les deux types de PME.



The authors would like to thank the Editor-in-Chief and the reviewers whose insights and suggestions contributed to a significant improvement in this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louis Raymond
    • 1
  • Josée St-Pierre
    • 1
  • Sylvestre Uwizeyemungu
    • 1
  • Thang Le Dinh
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut de recherche sur les PMEUniversité du Québec à Trois-RivièresTrois-RivièresCanada

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