Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Mika Gabrielsson and V. H. Manek Kirpalani
Chapter 8: Born Global Firms’ Use of Networks and Alliances: A Social Dynamic Perspective
Susan Freeman INTRODUCTION The identification of key internal and external driving forces, as well as trends underpinning the increasing incidence of born globals or ‘fast internationalizers’ (that is, development of small firms seeking international expansion at or near inception) reveals four common triggers. The forces comprise: new market conditions across diverse economic sectors; technological developments in functional areas such as production, transportation, and communication; increasing relevance of global networks and alliances; and finally, the presence of more skilled and entrepreneurial-oriented people, including those who establish the early internationalizing firm (Freeman et al. 2010; Rialp-Criado et al. 2010). While earlier born global research focused on the first two factors, more recent studies address the last two. Thus, recent research has focused on the increased importance of global networks, building on earlier studies on exporting firms and the importance of ‘contact systems’ and ‘personal networks’ (Welch and Welch 1996) and alliances (Johanson and Mattsson 1988). Specifically, the focus has been on the study of personal and social networks of managers operating in emerging and transitional economies (Zhou et al. 2007; Ellis 2008; Casillas et al. 2009; Manolova et al. 2010). Some researchers have argued that the network approach is too deterministic and ignores the role of the individual decision maker (Chetty and Blankenburg-Holm 2000). This is because network research focuses on how networks determine the firm’s strategic opportunities (Meyer and Skak 2002). Far less research has focused on the ‘entrepreneurial discovery and exploitation of those opportunities’ (Ellis 2008, p. 4). More recently,...
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