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Edited by Léo-Paul Dana
Chapter 39: A Network Perspective of International Entrepreneurship
Susanna Hinttu, Maria Forsman and Soren Kock The purpose of this study is to develop the understanding of how social networks aﬀect the internationalization processes of ﬁrms. Of particular interest is how social networks make a diﬀerence in terms of business partner selection. First we present a traditional theoretical framework to the internationalization process and focus more deeply on the network approach within the internationalization process. We continue by describing the social network approach and in more detail the impact of social networks on the internationalization of ﬁrms. Excerpts from empirical ﬁndings of diﬀerent studies illustrate the theoretical discussion. Finally we conclude the discussion with implications and suggestions for further research. Methods When adopting a relationship approach some methodological diﬃculties need to be pointed out. An outsider may get a somewhat superﬁcial comprehension of the relationship and the network the actor is involved in as a whole, since the actors may have diﬀerent perceptions of the network. We do not consider networks as set structures but as subjectively perceived contexts more or less planned for activities having an impact on the internationalization process. Each actor has a network position in a speciﬁed network. Actors can be positively connected, implying a synergetic, cooperative relation, or negatively connected when they compete to develop exchange relationships with a third party (Bengtsson and Kock, 1999). Relationships are here assumed to be positive. Our methodological approach is qualitative in the sense that we have conducted semi-structured interviews with...
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