The role of digital presence and investment network signals on the internationalisation of small firms

Endrit Kromidha, Paul JA Robson

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This article proposes a network signalling theory approach to analyse small firm internationalisation in the digital economy. We use a data set of 4446 small- and medium-sized firms extracted from Funderbeam and logit regression models to test five hypotheses about internationalisation. Exploring a firm’s digital presence indicates that the number of social media followers is a better indicator of internationalisation than website traffic, highlighting the importance of engagement signals in the digital space. Investment signals such as the time and size of funding are also positively related to internationalisation but surprisingly, not the number of investors, suggesting that more focused investment strategies work better in the international context. To complement our international network signalling approach, controlling for firm factors such as age and size and environmental factors such as competition and industry provides a more detailed analysis. Our contribution lies in extending signalling theory in the context of international networks using a novel and extensive data set.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Small Business Journal: Researching Entrepreneurship
Early online date4 Oct 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Oct 2020


  • digital presence
  • internationalisation
  • investment network
  • signalling theory
  • small firms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management


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