The role of consulting services in the internationalization networks of SMEs
: a case study research

  • João Paulo Gonçalves Oliveira (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The current literature emphasizes the role of the network relationships in the internationalization of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The main objective of this research is to find evidence on the way consulting services influence the internationalization networks of SMEs. Do they help in the information / knowledge management process? Do they help to construct a fully operational network of partners? What is their role in the operationalization of the established network relationships? The research is exploratory. The method used is the case study research method. Four SMEs belonging to the Portuguese metalworking industry are analysed. Results show that consulting services do, in fact, have a role in the information / knowledge management process, helping the partner SME to approach the external markets. Consulting services have a broader view of the external market and this also applies to the ability to connect the partner SME with agents in that market, managing relationships and serving most of the time as a bond of trust, especially at the beginning. Finally, consulting services play an important role in the selection of subsequent markets and in other aspects such as credibility, knowledge of the market, costs and risks and new relationships. By outsourcing resources and capabilities to consulting partners, SMEs can be more efficient in their internationalization processes and faster in acquiring competitive advantages. This can be a way to overcome the internal limitations of resources and capabilities to compete in the international markets.
Date of Award12 Jul 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorLeonardo Costa (Supervisor)


  • Consulting services
  • SME
  • Internationalization
  • Information
  • Knowledge
  • Network relationships


  • Mestrado em Economia Empresarial

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