The so called and partly overemphasized “digital revolution” _is certainly affecting the way firms will be organized with regard to value creation and delivery (Tilson, Lyytinen, & Sorensen, 2010; Yoo, Boland Jr., Lyytinen, & Majchrzak, 2012), how they will efficiently manage their production and operations, and how they will engage with their suppliers and customers. With regard to internationalization it will, on the one hand, change the competitive and collaborative landscape dramatically especially through providing opportunities for new collaborative relationships with private and public organizations across the globe (Coviello, Kano, & Lish, 2017). On the other hand, it may render traditional international partnerships obsolete as it will enable newcomers and incumbents to circumvent previously necessary intermediaries and establish direct relationships with customers, suppliers, and complementors.
In particular, digitalization has the potential to impact the main elements of the internationalization process of firms, for example, in terms of timing, pace, and rhythm of internationalization, location and entry mode choices, learning and knowledge recombination, and accessibility of resources and capabilities in home and host markets. It will change firms’ ability to mitigate and manage the liability of foreignness and outsidership (Coviello, Kano, & Liesh, 2017). This becomes especially apparent in the case of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) that –fostered by digitalization– will find effective ways to compete with large firms on a global scale through reducing their liability of smallness, i.e. especially their lack of financial and human resources.
Important research questions that may be explored are for example the following: How will foreign entry mode choice or market management modes be affected by digitalization? In which way will digitalization change the organizational structure and the culture of an SME and subsequently its internationalization processes? Will export based on internet sites and platforms that are accessible globally reduce the need to establish foreign service units and operations or does it depend on the business model? Will digitalization ease or impede the search for international business partners? To what extent will digitalization change the way foreign subsidiaries are staffed and managed? Will Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 alter the ways SMEs conduct business on an international level? How will SMEs cope with this challenge as they may suffer from a liability of smallness with this respect? Do SMEs have the financial resources to compete against MNEs as new electronic systems, software, and content has to be developed, adopted, and implemented?
Deadlines & Dates
Submission of extended abstracts: December 20, 2018
Acceptance Notifications: January 31, 2019
Preliminary Program published: February 28, 2019
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