Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration


Monte Ahuja College of Business

First Advisor

Javalgi, Rajshekhar

Subject Headings

Business Administration, Management, Marketing


Prior research has shown that a firm’s intangible resources are an important source of sustainable competitive advantage. This dissertation focuses on the intangible resources of Professional Service Firms that are Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (PSF SMEs) from an emerging market (namely India). PSF SMEs from emerging markets (such as India) are expanding globally and are attempting to compete with developed country market firms. This research study examines the factors that allow these PSF SMEs to compete successfully in the global marketplace. Examining these factors will enable developed country market firms as well as other emerging market firms to better understand the ways in which they can successfully compete globally. Professional service involves an organization or profession that offers customized, knowledge-based services to clients; examples are legal, engineering, accounting, architectural, financial, and software services. SMEs are generally defined as firms that have fewer than 500 employees or less than $25 million in revenues. The global professional services market is worth trillions of dollars and growing. PSFs (especially those that are also SMEs) from emerging markets are becoming quite successful in developed economies (such as the U.S. or U.K.) and in other emerging economies. This dissertation examines the intangible factors that contribute to the competitive advantages and superior performance of emerging market PSF SMEs. Specifically, this research documents the relationships among a PSF’s international business competencies (IBCs), human capital, service capabilities, competitive advantages, and financial performance. The study involves a 2018 survey of 251 senior managers or owners of PSF SMEs from India that have operations in various foreign markets. Structural equation modeling is used in the analysis of the study’s data. The results of the study show the positive impacts of the PSF SME’s IBCs, human capital, and service capabilities on the firm’s competitive advantages and performance. A detailed discussion of the theoretical, methodological, and managerial contributions and implications of the study are provided.