Anja Gelzer

Dissertation Topic
Entrepreneurial Behaviour and International Activity

Brief Description
The determinants of international activity of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) have been studied in depth in economics and business studies. Increasingly, attention is directed towards the analysis of born globals and international entrepreneurship. Also, policy programmes and research projects aim at facilitating the internationalisation of small businesses. In fact, there is a conviction that many more businesses could engage in international trade than currently do, i.e. that there are substantial potentials which so far remain unexploited. This thesis tries to find out whether this conviction is indeed justified. The main question to be investigated is: Are there any SMEs possessing the necessary attributes to successfully engage in international activity, and if so, why have they so far refrained from internationalisation? The potential contribution of this work lies in the attempt to use a theoretical framework which directly incorporates the behaviour and the decision-making processes of economic agents. The idea is to borrow both from entrepreneurship theory and behavioural approaches. The underlying research hypothesis is that differences in international activity may be due to differences in perceptions of business owners. Any hypothesis derived from the theoretical analysis will be subject to an empirical investigation.