Go East - Sustainable Internationalization of Finnish SMEs to Russia

Description of the Project

This research project seeks to find best practices for Finnish small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to internationalize successfully and sustainably to Russia. The main questions we seek to find answers to are:

  • What factors facilitate international growth of Finnish SMEs in Russian markets today?
  • How can Finnish SMEs operate sustainably in Russian markets?

Russia is still one of the most important trading partners of Finland and, as a large proximate developing market offers major market potential for Finnish enterprises. However, the global political developments over the past few years have led to decrease in Finnish-Russian trade. Simultaneously, some Finnish SMEs have still managed to not only continue business in Russia as usual, but also grow their operations in the country. In the "Go East" project funded by the Liikesivistysrahato foundation, the researchers seek to explain the reasons behind that success.

The Research Team

Lappeenranta University of Technology

Lasse Torkkeli (Project Manager, D.Sc. Econ. & Bus. Adm.) is an associate professor at LUT School of Business and Management. His areas of expertise are related especially to the internationalization of SMEs, their networks and partnerships, as well as the role of dynamic skills and culture in international business. He has published research articles in both conferences and international academic scientific journals, such as Journal of International Entrepreneurship, European Journal of Management and International Journal of Procurement Management.

Maria Uzhegova (M.Sc. Econ.& Bus. Adm.) is a doctoral researcher at LUT School of Business and Management. Her research interests focus on the firm's international business relationships with specific emphasis on the SME internationalization, corporate social responsibility and sustainability. She is working on the dissertation entitled "Social and environmental responsibility in internationalization of Finnish SMEs".

Åbo Akademi

Dr. Maria Ivanova-Gongne is a University Teacher in International Marketing at Åbo Akademi University, Finland. Her research interests include business-to-business marketing management, particularly the aspects of business interaction, managerial sensemaking and culture in international business-to-business relationships and networks. Her work has appeared in international top journals such as Industrial Marketing Management, Scandinavian Journal of Management, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing and European Management Journal.

Publications and Reports

Uzhegova, M., Torkkeli, L., & Ivanova-Gongne, M. (2019) The National Culture in the Responsible Business Practices and International Business of Finnish and Russian SMEs. In: The Changing Strategies of International Business. How MNEs Manage in a Changing Commercial and Political Landscape. Palgrave MacMillan.

Uzhegova, M., Torkkeli, L. & Ivanova-Gongne, M. (2019). The role of responsible business practices in international business relationships between SMEs from developed and emerging economies. In: Impact of International Business. Palgrave MacMillan.

Uzhegova, M., Torkkeli, L. & Ivanova-Gongne, M. (2018). The Role of Social and Environmental Responsibility in International Business Relationships of Finnish and Russian SMEs. Proceedings of the 2018 AIB UK&I Conference, 12-14 April, Birmingham, UK.

Ivanova-Gongne, Torkkeli, L. & Uzhegova, M. (2017). The border between us: CSR and gender discourses on Finnish and Russian business scene. Proceedings of the 2017 NIC Conference, Jyväskylä, 23-25 November.