Abstract

Around the same time as the first enquires into international entrepreneurship began, interest arose in the study of the networking dimension within entrepreneurship (Hoang and Antonic, 2003). From social network theory, the entrepreneurial process involves accumulating scarce resources, building reputation, finding partners and attracting clients, knowledge, suppliers, etc. from the environment (Autio, Yli-Renko & Salonen, 1997; Brush, Greene & Hart, 2001; O’Farrell & Hitchens, 1998; Birley & Cromie, 1988). This practice among start-up firms has been widely reported and evidenced in entrepreneurship literature. However, setting up international activities while still in the start-up phase remains a very complex task as these resources are internationally dispersed. The value of networks as an integral part of entrepreneurial success is widely acknowledged; however, there is considerable confusion and disagreement as to the role particular network characteristics play in the performance of emerging firms (Johannisson, 2000; Rowley et al., 2000) and especially as to what network characteristics are most advantageous in a firm’s early stages (Hite and Hesterly, 2001). The aim of this paper is to examine to what extent the characteristics of structural and relational patterns of networks explain differences in internationalization performance?

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