Internationalization process research emphasizes accumulated experience and networks as sources of knowledge for internationalization. Our understanding, however, as to what this knowledge is in practice for smaller firms, the challenges they face in acquiring it, and how they address those challenges is limited. Integrating organizational learning concepts with our theoretical understanding of the small firm internationalization process, we develop a new framework for understanding knowledgeacquisition processes, which are examined with a case study of 10 Scottish internationalizing firms. We find smaller firms may not have relevant experience or useful networks, and rely on sources rarely recognised before. Firms used recruitment, government advisors and consultants to acquire indirect experience. Recruitment is a source of market and technological knowledge and government advisors and consultants a source of internationalization knowledge. Accessing internal information is important for firms that have internationalized. Our integrated theoretical framework identifies knowledge content and sources that are critical for internationalization, but that may be absent.
- International entrepreneurship
- Knowledge acquisition
- Smaller internationalizing firms