Does digitalization and the adoption of industry 4.0 components matter for the internationalization of portuguese small and medium enterprises?
Keywords:Digitalization, Industry 4.0, Internationalization, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Information Technology
Purpose: The aim of the study is to analyze the relevance that Industry 4.0 and the implementation of its components have for the internationalization of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Portugal.
Method: Exploratory research with a qualitative approach based on a double case study. The aim is to explore, inductively, how Industry 4.0 and the implementation of its components influence the organization, competitiveness and internationalization process of the SMEs under study. Primary data were obtained through semi-structured interviews with full transcription.
Main Results: The results suggest that for the SMEs under study, the implementation of Industry 4.0/digitization caused positive impacts at the organizational and competitiveness level, the value chain was positively affected and, consequently, the companies were better positioned in their competitive advantages.
Relevance/Originality: This work provides insights for the study and joint understanding of digitalization and business internationalization, i.e., it integrates and relates two autonomous, complex and strategic fields of research, with no applied studies for the Portuguese SMEs context.
Theoretical implications: The main contribution is of exploratory nature indicating, for the Portuguese context, that the literature is still incipient. Therefore, it is suggested the development of research that relates digitalization and internationalization of SMEs because they are the basis of economic systems and digitalization is an opportunity for internationalization and success in international markets.
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