Research program: International business in Asia

Max Smith

Max Smith is one of Flinders Business School's international business team.  His primary teaching, delivered in both Australia and China, is in the topics International Business Environment and International Marketing.   He is a member of the Academy of International Business; the Australian and New Zealand International Business Academy; the Academy of World Business, Marketing and Management Development; and the Academy of Marketing Science.  He is also a Board Member of the Exporters' Club Onkaparinga, an export association established in southern Adelaide.

Research activity: Psychic distance in the middle kingdom: A comparison of Chinese and Australian business people

Doctoral program at the School of Management, La Trobe University.

Psychic distance relates to the mental distance, as distinct from actual distance, business people hold to a foreign market.  After critically analysing the extant literature related to the psychic distance concept and instruments used to measure psychic distance in the past, substantial research gaps are identified by this study.  In order to address these gaps this project proposes a new conceptual framework of psychic distance, an improved definition, and an improved method of capturing the construct.  Cross-national comparisons of samples from Australia and China will be used to test the proposed conceptual framework as well as address a number of uninvestigated assumptions associated with psychic distance.  The study will also extend the scope of psychic distance studies, obtain estimates of national psychic distance that have not been produced in the past and provide a reference point for future studies.


Professor Peter Dowling and Dr Peter Lamb of La Trobe University; Professor Elizabeth Rose of Aalto University, Finland.


Book chapters
Smith, M.S., 2005. Negotiating with Asians: Australian perspectives. In International Negotiations: Perspectives and Challenges. Hyderabad, India: ICFAI UNIVERSITY PRESS, THE, pp. 116-145.

Refereed journal articles

Smith, M.S., Dowling, P.J., & Rose, E.L., 2011. Psychic distance revisited: A proposed conceptual framework and research agenda. Journal of Management & Organization, 17(1).

Smith, M.S., 2008. Differences between family and non-family SMEs: a comparative study of Australia and Belgium. Journal of Management & Organization, 14(1), 40-58.

Smith, M.S., 2007. 'Real' managerial differences between family and non-family firms. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research, 13(5), 278-295.

Smith, M.S., 2006. An empiricial comparison of the managerial development of family and non-family SMEs from Australia's manufacturing sector. Journal of Enterprising Culture, 14(2), 125-141.

Smith, M.S., 2005. Scanning the business environment and rates of growth among Australian manufacturing SMEs. Small Enterprise Research: The Journal of SEAANZ, 13(1), 22-36.

Smith, M.S., 2003. From entrepreneurial to professional management: a transition model from Australian manufacturing SMEs. Small Enterprise Research: The Journal of SEAANZ, 11(2), 3-21.

Refereed conference papers

Smith, M.S., 2006. Real differences between family and non-family SMEs: a comparative study of Australia and Belgium. Industry, market and regions: proceedings for the 2nd International Conference for the ABBSA, 1-17.

Smith, M.S., 2005. Family businesses are not always different: an empirical comparison of some managerial characterictics of family and non-family SMEs across nine Australian industry sectors. Proceedings of the 18th Annual Conference, Small Enterprise Association of Australia and New Zealand.

Journal articles

Zhou, G.Q., Smith, M.S., & Andressen, C.A., 2009. Yunnan's trade in agricultural products with Southeast Asia : a test case for the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement. Taiwanese Journal of WTO Studies, 13, 103-129.