Internationalisation process of high technology INVs: the role of social capital and network relationships
MetadataShow full item record
This study examined the different roles of social capital (i.e. efficacy, serendipity, and liability), network relationships, network closure and structure important to the internationalisation process of high technology International New Ventures (INVs). Although there has been a growing recognition of the role of social capital in the internationalisation process of firms, research into the three roles of social capital and their interrelation with network closure and structure is a research area that very few empirical studies exist. This study seeks to fill this gap by gaining rich insights into the internationalisation process of high technology INVs and by exploring the importance of strong and weak ties mechanism in early and later international market entries. In this study social capital is the sum of actual and potential resources that derive from network relationships. The study built on qualitative data collected from nine in-depth case studies of Greek and Scottish software INVs. The multiple semi-structure interviews were carried out in 2013 and 2014 with founders and CEOs. The material of the nine cases was used to understand and explain the internationalisation process and how social capital and network relationship influence it. The case material analysis proceeded from within case analysis to cross-case analysis in order to explore common patterns and differences across the cases. A theoretical framework based on the existing gaps was developed and tested in this research. This study contributed to the literature on International Business (IB), International Entrepreneurship (IE) and Social capital by exploring the evolution of social capital diachronically. A new type of INV was found: the niche market INV, which strategically uses its social capital to capture and exploit new opportunities in foreign markets. New insights are given to which role of social capital becomes more crucial in initial and later international market entries. This study found that the efficacy role of social capital played an important role both in initial and later stages of internationalisation. However, the serendipity role of social capital was more important for companies with many structural holes that did not have the necessary network relationships to bridge them. This study showed that Greek and Scottish entrepreneurs have different backgrounds; Greek entrepreneurs lack previous international work experience. It was found that virtual social capital in the digital era is becoming more and more important. A number of implications for management practice, policy and education are presented for developed markets firm managers and governments in the fields of IE and IB.