Journal of Intercultural Communication, Issue 18, Oktober 2008

Pipsa Purhonen

SME internationalization as a challenge to interpersonal communication competence: An analysis of interpersonal communication competence in networking and collaboration


This paper investigates how the internationalization of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) poses a challenge to the interpersonal communication competence of SME owners, managers and employees. Interpersonal communication competence is discussed particularly in the contexts of networking and business collaboration. Collaborative arrangements even with competitors are needed in today’s global business world. Through collaborative interaction it is possible, for instance, to reduce development and production costs or channel resources to creating new innovative products (Stohl & Walker 2002: 237). The expansion of business activities across international borders, in particular, requires networking and collaborative interaction regionally, nationally and internationally. Based on the literature of interpersonal and intercultural communication competence, interpersonal networks and collaborative interaction, this paper provides an analysis of the interpersonal communication competence specific to and needed in the context of SME internationalization.

Key words: collaboration, intercultural communication competence, interpersonal communication competence, networks, SME internationalization

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