Tang, Yee Kwan
Networking for the internationalization of SMEs: evidence from the Chinese context.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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This research emphasizes the active influence of a firm on network outcomes through its networking behaviour: the antecedent efforts undertaken by the firm to develop, manage, and leverage its networks for actual value creation in enabling/driving internationalization. Networking behaviour at the level of the firm is investigated as a core explanatory factor in the internationalization of SMEs in this study. The influence of the key decision-maker on the networking behaviour of SMEs is also examined.
Eight qualitative case studies and a quantitative survey were conducted respectively in two stages to draw empirical evidence from the Chinese context. The in-depth case studies provide rich information about the latent factors (variables) of the constructs of the study and their associations, from which hypotheses for quantitative research are formulated. Case findings also support more comprehensive interpretation of the quantitative results. Quantitative analysis of survey data allows statistical validation and generalization of the findings.
Findings of key behavioural aspects of networking concerning the likelihood of SMEs achieving (rapid) internationalization are derived. Network resources are identified to have possibly negative in addition to positive influences on internationalization. The findings highlight the significance of deliberate networking behaviour undertaken by a firm in pursuit of rapid internationalization.
The research conceptualizes a precise causal model capturing the networking behaviour of the firm as antecedent to explaining and predicting network outcomes in the specific context of internationalization. The research advances an integrative perspective – with theoretical underpinnings from the network perspective, the internationalization model and the resource-based view – to provide more comprehensive understanding pertaining to networks and the internationalization of SMEs.
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