Continued International Growth of Born Globals - A Network Approach

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Abstract:

Background: Ever since the Born Global phenomenon has emerged in the early 1990s, it has been investigated from various perspectives as for example from the network-based view. However, research has exclusively been done within this field at early stages of Born Globals’ internationalization. Therefore, there is a lack of understanding of how Born Global firms continue their operations after their initial internationalization.

Research Question: How does networking influence a Born Global firm in order to continue its international growth?

Purpose: The purpose with this study is to increase the understanding of how networking influences an already internationally established Born Global firm in order to continue its international growth.

Theoretical Framework: The theoretical framework is divided into four different categories, namely Maintenance and Increase of Network, Personal and Inter-Organisational Network, The Strength of a Network Tie and Causation and Effectuation, which have been developed based on the literature review. At the end, the theoretical framework is summarized with a model indicating the categories’ influence on the continued international growth of Born Globals.

Methodology: For this study a qualitative research method has been chosen where both secondary and primary data have been collected. A case study consisting of two Swedish companies has been conducted.

Conclusions: This study shows that efficient and strategic networking is crucial for the continued international growth of Born Globals, which is supported by the establishment of routines and standardized criteria. It is of the highest importance to keep a close contact to customers and to preserve control over the network, which can be realized by having strong relationships to distributors or agents or by establishing own sales subsidiaries. Furthermore, it is noticeable that network relationships shift from a personal to a predominantly business-based character during the continued international growth of Born Globals.

Managerial Implications: Managers should perceive networking as a crucial part of their firms’ continued international growth and implement networking in their overall internationalization strategy. Essential for a long-term success is to keep control over the increasing network and stay as close as possible to the increasing number of customers.

Theoretical Implications: The findings of this study imply that the role of networking as well as the networks’ characteristics change over time during Born Globals’ continued international growth.

Keywords: SMEs, Born Globals, Internationalization, Growth, Network

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