Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly viewed as valuable contributors to the global economy, which translates into their importance in business literature and academic research. Recent studies suggest that there exists a substantial variety of international activities pursued by SMEs expanding abroad, with a prominent presence of early internationalised enterprises, including born global. Despite the acknowledgement of the importance of human capital for SME internationalisation, there is a persistent knowledge gap concerning HR practices in this context. Until now, researchers investigating the accelerated internationalisation of SMEs have focused either on the human capital of decision-makers or selected attributes of employees, although these have only been at the pre-entry or entry stages. Thus, activities performed after entering foreign markets remain. This book attempts to reduce this gap and contribute to the body of knowledge concerning HR practices in early internationalised SMEs with an emphasis on the post-entry phase.
By taking such an approach, this volume integrates two streams of research: HRM in the SMEs and international business. It provides managers of SMEs with useful information on dealing with internationalisation-related challenges by means of various practices including work structuring, recruitment and selection, training and development, employee appraisal and remuneration, and performance management. The discussion of these issues is based upon data from a survey conducted in 200 SMEs and case studies exemplifying HR practices in early internationalised small and medium enterprises. It offers academic researchers, postgraduate students, and reflective practitioners a state-of-the-art overview of managing human resources in small and medium enterprises expanding internationally, including both accelerated and incremental paths.
2. The context and nature of early internationalised SMEs
3. Characteristics of HRM-related challenges faced by internationalised SMEs
4. Methodological aspects of empirical study
5. HRM practices in the investigated companies – empirical findings