Digital Transformation and Internationalization of SMEs: Emerging Challenges, Opportunities and Threats


  • Valerio Veglio Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy
  • Micheal Nippa Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy
  • Marjaana Gunkel Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy



Digital Transformation, Digital Firms, Industry 4.0, Internationalization Process, New Digital Technologies


Understanding the influence of the digitalization on the internationalization of SMEs are becoming a fundamental issue for both scholars and decision makers. This special issue includes empirical and conceptual articles that seek to analyze how the digital transformation is changing the internationalization approach of SMEs. Particular attention is paid on emerging challenges, opportunities and threats. The selected contributions draw on different frameworks and methodological approaches as the authors have expertise in different disciplines (i.e. international business, international entrepreneurship, and family business).

In details, the papers provide new insights in the field of international business with a focus on the following specific topics: digital internationalizing firms, international new ventures and new digital technologies, Industry 4.0 investments and internationalization, and board interlocks and international joint ventures.


Autio, E., & Zander, I. (2016). Lean Internationalization. Academy of Management Proceedings.

Brouthers, K.D., Geisser, K.D., & Rothlauf, F. (2016). Explaining the Internationalization of iBusiness Firms. Journal of International Business Studies, 47, 513-534.

Caylar, P.L., Noterdaeme, O., & Nalk, K. (2016). Digital in industry: From buzzword to value creation. McKinsey&Company.

Chan, Hubert C.Y. (2015). Internet of Things Business Models. Journal of Service Science and Management, 8, 552-568.

Chen, M. (2013). Towards Smart City: M2M Communications with Software Agent Intelligence. Multimedia Tools and Applications, 67, 167-178.

Coviello, N., Kano, L., & Liesh, P.W. (2017). Adapting the Uppsala model to a modern world: Macro-context and microfoundations. Journal of International Business Studies, 48, 1151-1164.

Dasi, A., Elter, F., Gooderham, P.N., & Pedersen, T. (2017). „New Business Models In-The-Making in Extant MNCs: Digital Trasformation in a Telco“ In
Breaking up the Global Value Chain. Emerald. Published Online.

Kleindienst, M., & Ramsauer, C. (2015). SMEs and Industry 4.0 – Introducing a KPI based Procedure Model to identify Focus Areas in Manufacturing Industry. In 12th Annual International Conference on SMEs, Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Management-Marketing-Economic-Social Aspects.

Onetti, A., Zucchella, A., Jones,M.V., & McDougall-Covin, P.P. (2012).Internationalization,innovation and entrepreneurship: business models fornew technology-based firms..Journal of Managementand Governance, 16, 3, 337–368.

Ojala, A, Evers, N., & Rialp, A. (2018). Extending the international new ventures phenomenon to digital platform providers: A longitudinal case study. Journal of World Business, 53, 725-739.

Porter, M.E., & Heppelmann, J.E. (2015). How Smart Connected Products are Trasforming Companies. Harward Business Review, 93(10), 4-19.

Strange, R., Zucchella, A. (2017). Industry 4.0, Global Value Chains and International Business. Multinational Business Review, 25(3), 174-184.
Trispas, M. (2009). Technology, identy, and inertia through the lens of the digital photography company. Organization Science, 20(2), 441-460.

Turber, S., vom Brocke, J. & Gassmann, O. (2015) Designing Business Models in the age of Pervasive Digitization. Proceedings at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, 7-11 August, Vancouver.

Yoo, Y. (2010). Computing in everyday life: A call for research on experimental computing. MIS Quarterly, 34(2), 213-231.

Yoo, Y., Boland Jr., R.J., Lyytinen, K., & Majchrzak, A. (2012) Organizing for innovation in the digitized world. Organization Science, 23(5), 1398:1408




How to Cite

Veglio, V., Nippa, M., & Gunkel, M. (2020). Digital Transformation and Internationalization of SMEs: Emerging Challenges, Opportunities and Threats. Piccola Impresa / Small Business, (2).



Received 2020-07-06
Accepted 2020-07-06
Published 2020-07-06