SME international business models: the role of context and experience

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Said Elbanna
  • Joanna Karmowska
  • Pushyarag Puthusserry
  • Terence Tsai
  • Rose Narooz
  • Yunlu Zhang

Colleges, School and Institutes


This paper addresses two questions through a study of 180 SMEs located in contrasting industry and home country contexts. First, which business models for international markets prevail among SMEs and do they configure into different types? Second, which factors predict the international business models that SMEs follow? Three distinct international business models (traditional market-adaptive, technology-exploiter, and ambidextrous explorer) are found among the SMEs studied. The likelihood of SMEs adopting one business model rather than another is to a high degree predictable with reference to a small set of factors: industry, level of home economy development, and decision-maker international experience.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)664-679
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of World Business
Issue number5
Early online date26 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017


  • Business model, Internationalization, Industry, Home economy development, International experience, SMEs