Scared to internationalize, or willing to take a chance?

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When a firm feels an internal need to innovate or is being pushed by changes in the environment, decision-makers can choose to move business activities abroad. This action, called internationalization, can range from activities like exporting and licensing to merging with other (local) companies. Internationalization can safeguard the survival of a firm. What seems to be missing in the literature on internationalization is the influence of managerial cognition on this process. Also, contextual factors are mentioned but not extensively discussed. Managers possess different personality traits that influence how they lead and make certain choices. One theory regarding decision-making choices is the regulatory focus considering both the prevention-focus and the promotion-focus with regard to strategic choices. This research has examined the relationship between the regulatory focus theory and the internationalization process within small and medium-sized enterprises, accounted for by internal and external conditions that influence this process. Digital surveys were distributed under 1024 individuals, of which 79 responded and around 60 were valid to use for the research. A high amount of insignificant information was found. Both the promotion-focus as well as the prevention-focus seemed to influence the consideration to internationalize positively. Also, to some extent, decision-makers seemed to possess both regulatory foci. Gender of individuals influenced the internationalization tendency of decision-makers significantly. Male decision-makers were more likely to consider to internationalize. Keywords: internationalization, regulatory focus, small and medium-sized enterprises, environmental uncertainty, organizational resources
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen