Learning in SME Internationalization: A New Perspective on Learning From Success versus Failure

Jeoung Yul Lee, Alfredo Jimenez, Timothy Devinney

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Entrepreneurial small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a significant role in nearly all economies and are responsible for a significant proportion of cross-border transactions. In order to create and capture opportunities across borders, entrepreneurs in SMEs rely heavily on both self- and vicarious- and experience-based organizational learning. Although a significant percentage of the academic literature has concerned itself with learning from successful experience (or general experience), learning from failed experience (or learning from success versus failure) has receive much less attention. This is despite the fact that failure is generally more pervasive, particular with respect to SMEs, than success. In this paper, we review the extant knowledge on SME success- and failure-based learning from internationalization, with particular emphasis on how the two bases of learning interact. In addition, we relate the five focused issue articles that build on and extend this literature into a set of insightful theoretical and managerial contributions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMIR: Management International Review
Early online date25 Jul 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jul 2020


  • Internationalization Process
  • Learning in Internationalization
  • Learning from Success versus Failure
  • Small and medium-size enterprises
  • SMEs


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