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SMEs’ post-internationalisation strategic adaptiveness in host countries (Advert Reference: RDF22/BL/EIS/NYUUR)

   Faculty of Business and Law

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  Dr R Nyuur, Dr Yevhen Baranchenko  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

International strategic adaptiveness is a nascent concept based on the principle that internationalising firms sometimes make missteps when entering foreign markets. Such firms subsequently align their capabilities to the prevailing macro-environmental conditions in the host economies to survive and compete. International strategic adaptiveness therefore refers to firms’ ability to adapt their competitive tactics and business practices to minimise risks to their operations. Only more recently has there been a tendency towards strategic adaptiveness research focussing on internationalising small and medium-sized enterprises (ISMEs), as ISMEs are more constrained and suffer from liability of foreignness, smallness, and newness in host countries. This places ISMEs in positions of vulnerability and uncertainty as they sometimes miscalculate or underestimate host country competitive market and technological challenges before the actual internationalisation. Coupled with a potentially volatile global business environments, ISMEs pursue corrective actions to align their strategies to the realities in the new macro environment.

Although SMEs internationalisation has emerged recently as an important international entrepreneurship research stream and highlights the critical role of ISMEs in driving economic growth, studies have primarily focused on the pre-internationalisation stage, and analyses how and why SMEs from their inception internationalise. However, little is known about SME internationalisation beyond this point. Particularly, SMEs post-internationalisation strategic adaptiveness capabilities and performance have so far received negligible attention. It therefore remains unclear how ISMEs strategically adapt and what capabilities are required in their effective strategic adaptiveness in host countries. A key question is therefore what kinds of capabilities and mechanisms SMEs deploy, that facilitate effective post-internationalisation strategic adaptiveness and resource commitment in foreign markets after initial entry.

Given the crucial importance of SMEs for the economies of the UK and the Netherlands and the impact of chronic uncertainty created by shocks such as Brexit and Covid-19 pandemic, this studentship aims at exploring strategic adaptive mechanisms employed by internationalising SMEs from emerging countries in the host economies of these two countries. Methodologies could include quantitative or qualitative approaches, although a combination of the two may be most desirable. A comparative study between the two contexts would be ideal with at least part of the focus being on the North East of England. This will be supported through existing European research collaboration partners in the Netherlands. The study will make contributions to research in SME internationalization by paying much-needed attention to examining how businesses in the UK and the Netherlands effectively employ post-internationalization strategies. From a practical perspective the research should also be of interest to policy makers both in the UK and Netherlands at regional and national levels.

This project is supervised by Dr Richard Nyuur and Dr Yevhen Baranchenko.

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[Email Address Removed]

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:

  • Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
  • Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
  • Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere or if they have previously been awarded a PhD.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF22/BL/EIS/NYUUR) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 18 February 2022

Start Date: 1 October 2022

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff and students. We welcome applications from all members of the community.

We would encourage candidates to contact Dr Richard Nyuur and Dr Yevhen Baranchenko to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code. 

Funding Notes

Each studentship supports a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2021/22 full-time study this is £15,609 per year) and full tuition fees. UK and international (including EU) candidates may apply.
Studentships are available for applicants who wish to study on a part-time basis over 5 years (0.6 FTE, stipend £9,365 per year and full tuition fees) in combination with work or personal responsibilities.
Please also read the full funding notes which include advice for international and part-time applicants.


Amankwah-Amoah, J., Khan, Z., Ifere, S. E., Nyuur, R. & Khan, H. (in press). Entrepreneur’s Learning from Business Failures. British Journal of Management.
Burton, N., Nyuur, R., Amankwah-Amoah, J.; Sarpong, D. & O'Regan, N. (2020). Product architecture and product market internationalisation: A conceptualisation and extension. Strategic Change, 29(1), 47-55.
Nyuur, R. B., Brečić, R. & Debrah, Y. A. (2018). SME International innovation and strategic adaptiveness: The role of domestic network density, centrality and informality. International Marketing Review, 35(2), 1-23.
Nyuur, R. B., Butigan, R., & Simintiras, A. (2016). The Moderating Effect of Perceived Effectiveness of Marketing Function on Network Ties – Strategic Adaptiveness Relationship. Journal of Small Business Management, 54(4), 1080-1098
Nyuur R. B., Brečić, R. & Sobiesuo, P. (2015). Foresight capabilities and SME product/service adaptiveness: the moderating effect of industry dynamism. International Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy, 10(2/3/4), 145-164.
Nyuur, R. B. (2015). Unlocking the potential barriers on SMEs’ uptake of scenario planning. Journal of Strategy and Management, 8(2), 139-154.
Xu, Y., Baranchenko, Y., Lin, Z., Wu, Q. (in press). How does the combination of factors influence entrepreneurs’ decision-making logic? A qualitative comparative analysis. Entrepreneurship Research Journal.
He, C., Baranchenko, Y., Lin, Z., Szarucki, M., & Yukhanaev , A. (2020). From global mindset to international opportunities: the internationalization of Chinese SMEs. Journal of Business Economics and Management, 21(4), 967-986.
Yukhanaev, A., Fallon, G., Baranchenko, Y., & Anisimova, A. (2015) An Investigation into the Formal Institutional Constraints that Restrict Entrepreneurship and SME Growth in Russia, Journal of East-West Business, 21:4, 313-341.
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