International opportunity recognition in UK based life science SMEs: a dynamic managerial capabilities perspective

Barron, Nicola Jane (2019) International opportunity recognition in UK based life science SMEs: a dynamic managerial capabilities perspective. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

The life science industry is characterised by a number of small, interdependent and specialised companies (Powell, White, Koput & Owen‐Smith, 2005; Powell, Packalen & Whittington, 2012). Therefore, recognising opportunities for international expansion, to gain knowledge and resources, is a central activity for life science SME owners/managers. While many studies focus upon organisational level capabilities within this context (Jones, Wheeler, Dimitratos, 2011a), little is known about the microfoundations (Teece, 2007) of the international opportunity recognition process. Life science SMEs can be divided into two main categories, early‐stage SMEs (R&D focused), and later stage SMEs (commercialising products and/or services). Drawing upon the theoretical lens of dynamic managerial capabilities, we explore the mechanisms that life science SME owners/managers leverage, at different stages, to acquire specialised technological and market knowledge, during the international opportunity recognition process.
We used a two phase research design, drawing upon a replication logic methodology (Eisenhardt & Graebner, 2007; Leonard‐Barton, 1990). Firstly, we used an exploratory case to provide a fine‐grained understanding of the mechanisms leveraged when acquiring technological and market knowledge, during the international opportunity recognition process, in a life science SME. In the second phase, we selected 12 further cases, which we analysed using a comparative case study methodology, to replicate and extend our emergent constructs, derived from the findings of the exploratory case (Eisenhardt, 1989; Leonard‐Barton, 1990). These cases helped to develop our understanding of the similarities and differences between the mechanisms leveraged by owners/managers in early‐stage and later stage life science SMEs, when acquiring specialised technological and market knowledge, during the international opportunity recognition process.
Three main phases of the international opportunity recognition process; scanning, sensemaking and selection, emerged from our empirical findings. In addition, we shed light upon how the mechanisms, underpinning social and human capital, were leveraged in each phase of international opportunity recognition process, by owners/managers of different stage life science SMEs, when acquiring technological and market knowledge. Finally, we uncovered an association between the type of knowledge acquired, early and later stage SMEs, and the mode of international market entry. Our evidence highlights that life science SME owners/managers can benefit from leveraging their networks to access specialised knowledge, when recognising opportunities for international expansion.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > Strategy and Marketing
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labour > HD2321 Industry > HD2340.8 Small and medium-sized businesses, artisans, handicrafts, trades
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2019 08:31
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2021 07:39
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/86707

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