A4 Conference proceedings

Business Model Adaptation and International Opportunity Recognition in SMEs: Evidence from the Finnish Cleantech Sector


Publication Details
Authors: Munther Reeta, Asemokha Agnes, Salojärvi Hanna, Torkkeli Lasse, Saarenketo Sami
Publication year: 2017
Language: English
Title of parent publication: ISPIM Innovation Conference 2017: Composing the innovation symphony - Vienna, Austria, 18-21.6.2017
ISBN: 978-952-335-021-2
JUFO-Level of this publication: 0
Open Access: Not an Open Access publication

Abstract

Business models, business model adaptation and international opportunity recognition have been relatively broadly studied in literature on strategic management and entrepreneurship, respectively. However, up to this point the extant research has examined these phenomena separately rather than jointly, and thus little research has been conducted on the interplay between opportunity recognition and business models, especially in the context of SME internationalization. By building on a qualitative case study methodology, we aim to add insight into the relationship between international opportunity recognition and business model change in SMEs.

The empirical part of this study consists of five Finnish SMEs in the cleantech sector, and focuses on the business model adaptation and opportunity recognition process early in their internationalization. The data were collected through semi-structured interviews and analyzed with NVivo. The results suggest the international opportunities do not drive business model adaptation but instead the dynamic is towards the opposite: the established business model frames and limits the international opportunity recognition process of the SMEs. Most of the changes in the business models occur with value proposition component, and all of the identified changes can be seen as business model extensions rather than outright innovation. In addition, threats and opportunities both act as drivers for the business model change, but the companies are more reactive than proactive in adapting their business models when facing international opportunities. The international opportunity recognition process has similar characteristics across the case enterprises, emphasizing the importance of networks and own deliberate search.

The contribution of this study is two-fold. First, it contributes by helping introduce business model as a concept to the international entrepreneurship stream of research. Second, the paper increases the understanding on the way firms recognize opportunities and adapt their business models in the early phases of their internationalization path, as well as the drivers leading to such changes.


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