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Determinants and Models of Competitive Performance of SMEs in an International Business Environment: Combining Macro-Level and Firm-Level Analyses

Kostadin Kolarov, Yordanka Ivanova, Branimir Yordanov, Krasimira Shindarova and Nedialko Nestorov

Economic Studies journal, 2021, issue 6, 106-125

Abstract: The article is targeted at exploring determinants associated with the internationalization process and related performance of Bulgarian enterprises. Examined are data on a macro-level such as national and European statistical data and export data for comparative purposes, as well as firm-level determinants and measures. Thus, the study conducted as part of a research project integrates and builds on previous research of the authors, with an addition of a macro perspective. By providing a macro viewpoint and longitudinal perspective on internationalization modes, it attempts to enrich the understanding of the internationalization of SMEs mostly explained by individual and organizational determinants. The empirical sample includes 500 Bulgarian enterprises, both family and non-family, with diverse internationalization patterns and performance. Findings show that export is characterized by a relatively stable contribution for economic growth, balanced geographic scope, but an unfavourable structure where this contribution is mostly made by low value-added goods, low share of high technology export, and low share of firms’ export sales. The typical international involvement of Bulgarian SMEs is by less complex and resource-intensive modes following both reactive and proactive motives. Their international performance is characterized by a low degree and scope of internationalization and preference of geographically and culturally proximate target markets.

JEL-codes: D22 L25 L26 M16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Handle: RePEc:bas:econst:y:2021:i:6:p:106-125