THE INTERNATIONALIZATION PROCESS OF THE CRAFT MICROENTERPRISE
Vol. Volume 7, Number 1 April/2002
Dr. Ian Fillis
This work involves an examination of the internationalization process of the smaller firm, focusing on the craft enterprise in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Craft sector analysis was carried out in order to determine historical precedents as well as to assist in the identification of industry and firm level factors impinging upon domestic and export market behavior. A range of internationalization theories are discussed, with the conclusion that the majority of these frameworks fail to readily explain craft firm internationalization behavior. Quantitative results identify the majority of craft firms as microenterprises with almost one half operating as a single person business. Qualitative analysis enabled profiling of craft firm types to be carried out. Four orientations are uncovered: the entrepreneur, the idealist, the lifestyler and the latecomer. A composite framework of the factors uncovered in the analysis is constructed in order to better explain the process of craft firm internationalization. In addition, the marketing and entrepreneurship interface is promoted as an alternative aid to understanding smaller firm behavior in general, focussing on the balance of creative and business competencies needed in order to assist microenterprise internationalization.