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

Improving SME Performance Globally

Edited by Pervez N. Ghauri and V. H. Manek Kirpalani

This impressive Handbook provides a dynamic perspective on the international entrepreneurial strategies of SMEs, including the role and experience of their founders, as well as the collaboration of these SMEs in networks with larger firms. The expert contributors from all over the world and the editors explore the origin and evolution of internationalizing SMEs, the changing history and the future outlook of this sector. They study the effects of different cultures on the origin and growth of entrepreneurship and SMEs. The Handbook also outlines the various types of Born Globals that emerge from different parts of the world.
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Chapter 4: International entrepreneurial networking strategies: breaking out as a global player

Saara Julkunen, Mika Gabrielsson and Markus Raatikainen


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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