Chapter 4: International entrepreneurial networking strategies: breaking out as a global player
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This research focuses on networking strategies, which have become an important theme in SME internationalization research. The empirical research follows an in-depth case study approach, and examines two cases – an international new venture (INV) and a traditional internationalizer, both originating from Finland, a small and open economy (SMOPEC). Based on the case evidence we suggest that firm internationalization and entrepreneurial processes are reflected in an international entrepreneurial strategy, which has a strong influence on the development of firms’ networking. The novelty of our research stems from that we find that INVs follow a global customer segment–driven strategy, whereas the traditionally internationalizing firm follows a geographical market–based strategy, resulting in different types of networking behaviour. While the INV seeks to partner with a multinational corporation (MNC) that has access to global segments, the traditional firm seeks to leverage an MNC with strong geographic organizations. For both firms it becomes important to decrease their interdependence on their MNC partners by developing their distinctiveness, but whereas the INV seeks to become an invaluable part of the MNC’s global offering, the traditional firm decreases dependence by offering strong local services. The practical implications are based on recommendations relating to how entrepreneurs with different approaches to internationalizing SMEs could network with larger partners and how to obtain benefits from this partnership to become an independent global player.

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