Network relationships in international entrepreneurship : a multilevel analysis : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Marketing at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
This thesis extends knowledge on the relationship between networks and
internationalisation for innovative entrepreneurial firms, by exploring the
phenomenon at country, industry, and firm levels. Through multilevel analysis,
this thesis builds on the network approach to internationalisation, a theoretical
cornerstone in the emerging field of international entrepreneurship research.
The globally-focused study investigates institutional and economic factors
influencing the proportion of innovative entrepreneurial firms engaged in
international business in 51 countries. Variables representing networks, at a
country-level, are identified and tested. Findings illustrate that networks are
positively and significantly associated with higher proportions of innovative
entrepreneurial firms reporting substantial overseas engagement.
The industry-focused study argues industry-specific forces influence
development of networks for internationalisation. This study synthesises 32
empirical articles on internationalisation of software small and medium-sized
enterprises (SMEs). Findings identify patterns of network influences on foreign
market strategies (reactive/proactive), market selection, and entry mode
decisions. Characteristics specific to the software industry also encourage the
development of networks for internationalisation.
The firm-focused study explores network relationships used by New Zealand
software SMEs for innovation and internationalisation. Using multiple case
study methods, findings indicate network patterns relate to the founder’s prior
entrepreneurial and international experience, firm size, innovation type
(incremental/radical) and internationalisation type (incremental/radical).
The integrated findings from this multilevel analysis provide insights into how
networks create awareness, pathways, and competencies for
internationalisation. In doing so, this thesis extends understanding of the
interconnected, complex, and multilevel relationship between networks and
internationalisation for innovative entrepreneurial firms.