Exploring the Reciprocal Rela-tionship Between Innovation, Internationalization, and Or-ganizational Learning: A Complex System Model for Small Firms
The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between innovation, internationalization, and organizational learning in small businesses. Emergent approaches go beyond the linear causality that has traditionally linked these concepts in previous research in favor of holistic, complex approaches that stress mutual or circular causality. Based on this approach, and after analyzing 285 interviews and 54 companies from various industries, the authors find that the three activities are reciprocally linked to each other, forming a complex system. The firms’ evolution over a period of nine years also shows that, faced with various change elements, they evolved and adopted four kinds of configurations, characterized by low and high incremental and radical innovation, local and global internationalization, and adaptive and generative learning. The findings are relevant to scholars, managers, and government policymakers.