Successful In-between? Analyzing the Internationalization of Medium-sized World Market Leaders
Successful internationalization has become an inevitable challenge for most small and medium-sized companies. In this explorative study, based on interviews with 84 owners and CEOs of German small and medium-sized world market leaders (WMLs), specific success factors, typical internationalization patterns, existing challenges and potential risks are identified. Four types of those WMLs could be classified leading to the taxonomy of Visionaries, Conquerors, Companions and Globalizers. Their internationalization scheme could be assigned to three internationalization stages. When matched with the learning theory of internationalization (Johanson and Vahlne, 1977, 1990) this study contributes to the ongoing discussion regarding the applicability of traditional IB-theories.