Too Much of a Good Thing? Employee Human Capital and the Accelerated Internationalization of Belgian Small- and Medium-Sized Companies

  • Jonas Onkelinx
  • Tatiana S. ManolovaEmail author
  • Linda F. Edelman
Part of the Studies on Entrepreneurship, Structural Change and Industrial Dynamics book series (ESID)


In this chapter, we explore the role of employee general and specific human capital for the accelerated internationalization of Belgian small- and medium-sized companies (SMEs). We test our ideas using a unique dataset of all Belgian manufacturing SMEs which internationalized between 1998 and 2005 and followed a strategy of accelerated internationalization. Findings indicate a significant curvilinear (inverted U) association between general human capital (education) and the company’s scope of internationalization (number of foreign markets served), while specific human capital (training) had a significant effect only in the medium-low technology sector. Implications for theory, managerial practice, and public policy are discussed.


Human capital Technology Internationalization Belgium 



The authors would like to thank the National Bank of Belgium for their cooperation. Jonas Onkelinx gratefully acknowledges the financial support from the Intercollegiate Center for Management Science.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonas Onkelinx
    • 1
  • Tatiana S. Manolova
    • 2
    Email author
  • Linda F. Edelman
    • 2
  1. 1.Vlerick Business SchoolLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Bentley UniversityWalthamUSA

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