This article explores learning among rapidly internationalizing small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and how this supports the post-internationalization growth and survival of these firms. We utilize a qualitative multiple case study approach of ten information and communication technology (ICT) SMEs from a key emerging market—India. Findings suggest that during the post-entry stage, rapidly internationalizing SMEs use a wide range of internal and external sources of knowledge. External sources of knowledge include peer networks, associations in the same industry, international clients/partners, and international connections developed through trade fairs and trade missions. Internal sources of knowledge such as self-learning, especially from trial-and-error and experiential efforts, were found to enhance product, market and technological knowledge; and consequently aided geographic and product diversification. The findings also indicate that firms use a mix of integrated, vicarious, congenital and experiential learning approaches in their post-entry growth and survival phases. Experiential and congenital learning were found to be facilitated by firms’ internal network sources, whereas external network sources provide an ideal platform for vicarious learning. The study provides new insights into networking and learning by providing evidence that exposure to and connection with diverse types of networks can result in various forms of valuable learning for rapidly internationalizing SMEs, which enhances their post-entry growth.
- Emerging markets
- Post-entry growth
- Rapidly internationalizing SMEs