Handbook on International Alliance and Network Research
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Handbook on International Alliance and Network Research

Edited by Jorma Larimo, Niina Nummela and Tuija Mainela

Over the past few decades, alliance and networks have been generally examined individually. This Handbook sheds new light on this research by combining the two topics and focuses on highlighting their similarities. The expert contributors discuss topics surrounding the state-of-the-art in alliance and network research, conceptual development in alliance and network research and empirical evidence of international alliances and networks. They combine diverse types of studies including literature reviews, conceptual papers and empirical studies in order to provide the reader with a comprehensive understanding of the topic.
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Chapter 7: Business networks, firm strategy, opportunity development and strategic outcomes: a conceptualization of the initial phase of firm internationalization

Mikael Hilmersson, Martin Johanson, Heléne Lundberg, Stylianos Papaioannou and Aron Thyr


The development of international opportunities is a central catalyst of the firm internationalization process. Previous research has suggested a link between a firm’s network characteristics and the process with which it develops opportunities. In this chapter we integrate findings from the literature on international entrepreneurship with the network view on firm internationalization. We conceptualize the internationalization process by connecting the concepts of business network, firm strategy, international opportunity development and strategic outcomes. Four groups of propositions are developed on the direct and indirect relationships between these constructs. This contributes to the literature by conceptualizing the early stage of firm internationalization and laying the conceptual groundwork for future research examining and testing the ways in which different types of opportunities are developed and the strategies for firms to follow in this process.

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