Title

Internationalization and the performance of born-global SMES : the mediating role of social networks

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Journal of International Business Studies

Publication Date

7-1-2007

Volume

38

Issue

4

First Page

673

Last Page

690

Keywords

Born global, China, Guanxi, Internationalization, SMEs, Social networks

Abstract

This paper offers a social network explanation for the purported relationship between internationalization and firm performance in the context of born-global small and medium enterprises (SMEs). We argue that home-based social networks play a mediating role in the relationship between inward and outward internationalization and firm performance. The mediating mechanism is attributed to three information benefits of social networks: (1) knowledge of foreign market opportunities; (2) advice and experiential learning; and (3) referral trust and solidarity. Using survey data from SMEs in the largest emerging economy of China, we found some support for this mediating role of social networks in the form of guanxi. The results imply that international business managers should consider social networks as an efficient means of helping internationally oriented SMEs to go international more rapidly and profitably.

DOI

10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8400282

Print ISSN

00472506

Funding Information

Financial support by the Research Grant Council of Hong Kong.

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2007 Academy of International Business. All rights reserved. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Language

English

Recommended Citation

Zhou, L., Wu, W.-P., & Luo, X. (2007). Internationalization and the performance of born-global SMES: The mediating role of social networks. Journal of International Business Studies, 38(4), 673-690. doi: 10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8400282

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