- The McGill International Entrepreneurship series
Edited by Hamid Etemad, Tage Koed Madsen, Erik S. Rasmussen and Per Servais
Chapter 10: Toward an understanding of how entrepreneurs access and use networks/social capital to internationalize: a gender perspective
Growth in entrepreneurial activity is increasingly seen as an important driver of economic growth, employment and national competitiveness (GEM 2010). With rapid globalization, international markets offer increasingly important entrepreneurial growth opportunities through gains in economies of scale and scope, and increases in market power (Oviatt and McDougall 1994). For relatively small, resource-constrained ventures, the ability of entrepreneurs to access networks and gain social capital is typically seen as a prerequisite to identifying and exploiting such international opportunities (Chetty and Blankenburg-Holm 2000; Coviello and Munro 1997; Johanson and Mattsson 1988). However, despite this recognition, our knowledge of the role played by networks/social capital in the internationalization processes of entrepreneurial ventures in general remains somewhat inconclusive (see literature review). Does reliance on one particular type of network (business, social) result in more extensive or more rapid internationalization? Do entrepreneurs use different types of network for different internationalization decisions? Similarly, do they leverage one type of network to identify opportunities and another to exploit them? How are the two different types of network interrelated, if at all, in the internationalization processes of new ventures? Previous studies that have tapped into some of these issues have equivocal findings (De Carolis and Saparito 2006).
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