University of Gothenburg

Sylvie Chetty

Visiting Professor of International Business from University of Otago, New Zealand

Decision-making approaches and developing international opportunties in unfamiliar foreign markets.

Professional biography

Sylvie is interested in the internationalisation of small and medium sized enterprises as she considers such businesses to be an important form of employment creation. She has extensive experience with cross country research as she has collaborated with researchers from several countries, in particular from Sweden and Finland. She has engaged with business and policy makers in her research endeavours and has received prestigious research grants to fund her research projects.

What are your main research interests?

My main research interests are to discover how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) use their social and business networks to create opportunities and to innovate, as well as to overcome the challenges such as lack of resources and knowledge about foreign markets. I have studied how entrepreneurs develop opportunities in foreign markets by skilfully combining their resources with their network partners’ resources. I have examined alternative decision making paradigms such as effectuation, unplanned and unexpected internationalisation, which help to provide insights about what actually happens in practice. My research also includes measuring speed of internationalisation and how this speed is connected to firm performance.

How does your research have influence beyond the academic world? Does this include any roles you have beyond the academy?

My research findings have been used by business practitioners and policy advisors to help with their decision making and training. My in-depth research interviews involve extensive discussions with CEO’s, international business/marketing managers and policy makers. During the interviews these particants also benefit from the detailed questioning, which encourages them to reflect on the decisions they make and on the strategic direction of their businesses. In addition, I disseminate emerging findings in seminars to business practitioners and policy makers.

Is teaching still a significant part of your working life? What particular method or approach would you say characterises your teaching?

I have an interactive pedagogical style and have developed the skills to actively engage postgraduate students in class discussions and encourage them to work in teams in small projects during class. I integrate co-operative learning and experiential learning in my teaching and this involves co-ordinating and facilitating class interaction. When preparing teaching materials for my courses I aim for research-led teaching by integrating my own research on networks and internationalisation of small and medium sized enterprises and link it with current developments in research as well as what is going on in the business world.

What specific passions or concerns particularly inspire you in your work?

I enjoy observing what goes on in practice and comparing it to existing academic research, as I recognise the huge gap between these two ‘worlds’. I am keen to advance nascent concepts and theories by studying how entrepreneurs actually make decisions in practice, which helps to take these concepts and theories into the next level of development. My passion in research is to use alternative lenses to observe internationalisation phenomena in practice and to challenge existing assumptions.

Which of your publications would you regard as the most significant and why?

My work on business networks and born global firms because they have significantly influenced this field of research. These research topics challenged traditional theories and provided alternative perspectives on how small and medium sized firms internationalise. The article on "Born-Globals" was awarded the Journal of International Marketing, Hans Thorelli Prize by the American Marketing Association because of its novel contribution. This research was based on New Zealand firms and thus showed how firms from a small open economy approach their internationalisation.

What are you particularly hoping to achieve during your time as a Visiting Professor in Gothenburg?

I would like to share my knowledge with colleagues and students and to form long term research collaborations. I have been infuenced by research from Sweden because of my research collaboration for 22 years with researchers at Uppsala University, where some of the Gothenburg University international business team members also have associations. In addition, I would like to become more embedded in the research culture at Gothenburg University and to improve my understanding of how Swedish firms operate.


Would you like to meet Sylvie and/or have an idea for future cooperation?
Send an email to her contact person at the School: Mikael Hilmersson
Or visit her home university website!

Sylvie Chetty
Sylvie Chetty
Photo: Carina Gran

Focus areas

  • Business networks
  • Internationalisation process of entrepreneurial firms
  • Serendipity and internationalisation
  • Foreign market opportunities


The Elof Hansson Foundation