Internationalization through social digitalization : How social media affect the internationalization process of Swedish SME’s

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för marknadsföring (MF)

Abstract: The purpose of this thesis is to gain understanding for how social media has affected the internationalization process for Swedish SMEs. To get a deeper understanding of this phenomenon both product and service firms has been studied to analyze the possibility of a difference or not. This will be achieved by examining different theoretical frameworks applicable on the internationalization process and social digitalization, and by conducting interviews with relevant firms. By following a qualitative research method a deeper understanding for how the case firms work with internationalization and social media could be provided. The thesis has followed a deductive research approach, which enabled the development to become as adapted as possible to the thesis’s topic. The literature review that has been established in this thesis includes theories related to internationalization, such as the Uppsala model, the Network model and Born Global. Furthermore, Word of mouth, Electronic Word of mouth and Value Co-Creation has been studied. The literature review has resulted in a conceptual framework that establishes the relations between the different theories. This conceptual framework has subsequently been used in order to analyze the empirical data, which derives from multiple case firms. The empirical findings are then presented in the following chapter. The analysis chapter involves a discussion of the differences and similarities between theory and empirical findings. The following and final chapter of the thesis presents the conclusions as a result from the analysis and further contains implications, recommendations, limitations as well as suggestions for further research. The main theoretical implications that this thesis has resulted in is theory regarding social media in an international business context, by identifying factors of social media that can have a positive impact on Swedish firms that conduct international business. The main practical implication is that by gaining an understanding of social media, it is suggested that a Swedish firm can conduct international business easier with reduction of time, money and risks. Furthermore, the research can be valuable for Swedish firms using or that wishes to use social media to internationalize or strengthen their position on the international market.

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