Handbook of Research on International Entrepreneurship
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Handbook of Research on International Entrepreneurship

Edited by Léo-Paul Dana

This unique reference book provides an array of diverse perspectives on international entrepreneurship, a new and emerging field of research that blends concepts and methodologies from more traditional social sciences. The Handbook includes chapters written by top researchers of economics and sociology, as well as academic leaders in the fields of entrepreneurship and international business. State-of-the-art contributions provide up-to-date literature reviews, making this book essential for the researcher of entrepreneurship and the internationalisation of entrepreneurs.
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Chapter 39: A Network Perspective of International Entrepreneurship

Susanna Hinttu, Maria Forsman and Soren Kock


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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