Date of Conferral
Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)
Inadequate use of international knowledge by SME (small- and medium-sized enterprises) leaders is a prime contributing factor to failed internationalization efforts in the U.K. affecting firms' growth and survivability. The purpose of this qualitative single case study was to explore strategies U.K. SME leaders use to expand business internationally for sustainable growth. The Uppsala internationalization process model (UIPM) served as the conceptual framework for this study. Participants consisted of 4 senior leaders and 3 international operations employees who demonstrated effective use of strategies in the operation of the SME internationalization activities. Data collection occurred through semistructured interviews and review of an archival document, complemented by member checking to strengthen the credibility and trustworthiness of the findings. Four themes emerged through thematic data analysis: applying home and foreign market knowledge, capitalization of firm characteristics, selecting psychically close markets, and conducting sequential internationalizing activities for successful and sustainable SME internationalization efforts. The conclusion is that to achieve sustainable growth, SME leaders need to understand all factors pertaining to the internationalization initiatives of the firm, inclusive of market research and data collection, using experiential knowledge, assessing firm-specific advantages, capitalizing on limited resources, and leveraging networks in international markets. Subsequent positive social change may include an increase in sustainable SME in the United Kingdom offering innovative and competitive products and services, increasing employment opportunities, contributing to the citizens' financial stability, and contributing to the community's economic prosperity.