Internet Presence and Multilingual Dissemination in Corporate Websites: A Portrait of Spanish Healthcare SMEs

Internet Presence and Multilingual Dissemination in Corporate Websites: A Portrait of Spanish Healthcare SMEs

Irene Rivera-Trigueros, María-Dolores Olvera-Lobo
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/JGIM.20211101.oa24
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The development of Information and Communication Technologies has enabled companies to spread messages globally, allowing them to open new markets and reach international clients. In this sense, the multilingual dissemination of corporate information plays a key role, and, for this purpose, websites are great communication vehicles. The aim of this paper is to offer an overview of the internet presence of SMEs in Andalusia, along with their intention to reach international targets via the multilingual dissemination of corporate information, as well as determining the variables that influence these factors. To meet these objectives, a sample of 1425 SMEs has been analyzed. Results show that 52.3% of the companies evaluated had a website and only 10.3% of them offered their content translated to, at least, one language, and that variables such as company size, area of specialty and location may have an impact on these two aspects. The findings reveal that more research and policies are required to support SMEs in their digitalization and internationalization process.
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The information society provides great opportunities for companies when it comes to pursuing their professional activity and offering their products and services to clients and customers. ICTs have meant great change at all levels of society, including the business sphere, as they allow messages to reach a global audience at a considerably reduced cost. Consequently, ICTs are a good indicator of the ability of companies to modernize and compete in globalized environments (Peris-Ortiz et al., 2014). These environments undoubtedly pose new challenges and offer competitive opportunities, such as the opening of international markets both for large firms and corporations and for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (Chhibber & Chadha, 2020; de la Hoz Hernandez et al., 2020; Jean & Kim, 2019). Therefore, this research shares the vision of Alcaide et al. (2013) and Ferreira et al. (2018), who remarks that, despite the economic sphere being demanding and challenging for SMEs, they can take advantage of the elements provided by ICTs to create a solid internet presence allowing them to take their brands to their target audiences. This presence is achieved by means of the internet and the world wide web, which are great allies for the dissemination of corporate and commercial information, allowing SMEs to access global markets, interact with potential customers and improve their corporate image (Chaffey & Smith, 2013; Olvera-Lobo & Castillo-Rodríguez, 2018). As a result, it is undoubtable that a corporate website is one of the most important public relations vehicles for a company, as it enables them to foster engagement and gain the attention of users (Alcaide et al., 2013; Kotler & Armstrong, 2007; Osakwe et al., 2016; Peris-Ortiz et al., 2014).

Nevertheless, it is important to have into consideration the fact that opening international markets poses a great challenge for SMEs as they face language and cultural barriers, particularly, as regards regions with strong tourism and immigration flows. This is the case of Spain, the second most important country in the world in terms of receiving international tourists (World Tourism Organization, 2019) and one of the top five countries in Europe with the highest migrant population (Eurostat, 2019).

The scope of the present study is based on variables such as the location, area of specialty and the size of the companies, following the conceptualization proposed by Simmons et al. (2008), more specifically the hypothesis 7 states that “size, and size gradation, will not necessarily limit a small business in its website adoption compared to companies increasing in size gradation” (p.375).

The selection of Andalusia as the specific focus of this study is motivated for two key factors i) it is the most populated region in Spain (Instituto Nacional de Estadística, 2019b) and ii) it presents a linguistic and cultural context that is remarkably rich and diverse due to tourism and migrations (Instituto Nacional de Estadística, 2019a; 2020).

In the light of this scenario, this research addresses the following research questions:

  • 1.

    Are health SMEs from Southern Spain taking advantage of the benefits of having corporate websites?

  • 2.

    Are health SMEs from Southern Spain aware of the potential of a translated website for attracting foreign clients and entering new markets?

  • 3.

    Which are the variables that influence the fact of having or not a corporate website and translating it or not?

The aim of this paper, therefore, is to offer an overview of the internet presence of Andalusian healthcare SMEs, together with their intention of reaching international targets via the multilingual dissemination of corporate information, as well as determining what variables influence these factors.

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