Standing alone: small business and the global market

Document Type


Publication details

Hine, DC & Kelly, SJ 1999, 'Standing alone: small business and the global market', Small Enterprise Research, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 66-83.

Peer Reviewed



This paper takes a multi-disciplinary approach to the exploration of the role small businesses play in the globalization of the Australian economy. We ask: do SMEs exist primarily to service the demands of their larger counterparts, relying on large firms to enter foreign markets, or do they have the ability to enter global markets as 'independent' entities, sustaining a consistent competitive advantage. A multiple case study approach has been applied to answer the research questions.

Findings indicate that small firms are indeed independent and dynamic operators, crucial to Australia's economic success, and small firms are effective in entering foreign markets and do so through operationalising strategy consistent with the relational paradigm, and the establishment of either resource based or skills based marketing and distribution arrangements.

Resultant of the findings is a model of market entry and sustained competitiveness by SMEs in export markets. The model combines concepts of relational marketing, continuous improvement and export behaviour.

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