Monday, February 04, 2013



IWS Documented News Service


Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach

School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies

Cornell University

16 East 34th Street, 4th floor---------------------- Stuart Basefsky

New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau



Deutsche Post & DHL



[full-text, 46 pages]


In an exacting economic environment, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have been presented with a

challenge. A challenge to grow and increase the profitability of their businesses against a backdrop of often weak



This report summarises the results of research into the performance and competitiveness of SMEs in this business

environment, with a specific focus on attempts by SMEs to ‘internationalise’ their businesses and how this impacts

on their growth. The research involves analysis of SMEs across 12 countries – the G7 and the BRIC economies

with the addition of another emerging market, Mexico (‘BRICM’). The report studies SMEs that have international

operations, as well as ‘high-performing SMEs’ (see below for definition). Of particular interest is the overlap

between these two groups – SMEs that have international operations and are high-performing – prompting the

thought that trading internationally is itself a driver of performance.


The main purpose of the study is to

1. Identify and describe international SMEs, their drivers and challenges.

2. Draw insights of what makes an international SME competitive.



1. Introduction 3

1.1. Background 4

1.2. Methodology 5

2. Analysis 7

2.1. International SMEs 8

2.1.1. International business activities 8

2.1.2. International competitive advantages 15

2.2. High-performers 17

2.2.1. High-performing SMEs 17

2.2.2. International high-performing SMEs 18

3. Conclusion 23

4. Annexes 25

Annex 1: Questionnaire: drivers of competitiveness for

SME’s trading internationally 26

Annex 2: Country focus 31


Press Release 30 January 2013

Internationally-focused small & medium companies prosper in 'global village'

Study shows that SMEs engaged in international markets are twice as likely to be successful as those only operating domestically

Growing focus on international trade among SMEs

'20th century infrastructure, high customs duties and an information gap on international trade' present SME stumbling blocks





This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.


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