To understand the environmental scanning practices of GOSMEs better, owner-managers of international SMEs (independents, with less than 500 employees, no subsidiaries, managed by owners) from the Province of Quebec (Canada) were chosen according to their recognized reputation in specialized magazines dealing with business, the number of countries where they are doing business (at least two foreign countries), and the relative success of their organizations in recent years (above the average of the industry).
The first three sectors of the current study have been identified in recent publications as the most challenging for GOSMEs (Cervantes, 1997; Dodge, Fullerton, and Robbins 1994; Karagozoglu and Lindell, 1998).
The three information sources above are recommended by managers for scanning the competition of GOSMEs facing a higher level of uncertainty in this environment sector.
But it should be remembered that GOSMEs do not generally have subsidiaries or ad hoc services to collect information on foreign countries and must use resources that are readily available, that means, most accessible (Christensen and Bailey, 1997).
In light of evidence about the choice of information sources according to their specific content, conclusions based on broad categories or on the richness criterion in terms of social presence may not be a sufficient way to understand scanning behavior in GOSMEs.
Proposition2b: The lower the level of perceived uncertainty, the more access to the information source is the main criterion when GOSMEs choose an information source.
Proposition 2: In GOSMEs, the higher the position of a person in the organization, the more the person will acquire explicit knowledge outside the firm.
Proposition 3: The more standard the product of the GOSMEs, the more the firm will use multiple training providers, and the more customized the product of the firm the more it will rely on itself for human resources training.
Proposition 4: GOSMEs managers focus more on learning for discovery than on learning for imitation.
Proposition 5: All else being equal, the employee's actual tasks on the job, career objectives, and previous knowledge will determine the appropriate method and content of learning in GOSMEs.
Proposition 6: In GOSMEs, knowledge transfer within the firm is more likely to be carried out through social interactions such as discussion groups chaired by managers or the most qualified employees.
This study aimed at understanding the means that GOSMEs use to prepare their human resources to face globalization's challenges.