Networking and network therefore lysed as two separate but interdependent

Networking and network therefore lysed as two

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Vahlne, 2003; Mort and Weerawardena, 2006). ‘Networking’ and ‘network’, therefore, are ana- lysed as two separate but interdependent constructs, with the latter being the outcome of the former (Chell and Baines, 2000; Neergaard, 2005; O’Donnell, 2004; Shaw, 2006). Networking behaviours are interpreted to represent the directions and actions of firms in formulating, developing and maintaining network relationships. This firm-level analysis enables explanation and prediction of variations in effects of networks on internationalization patterns via differences in firm behaviours. The findings are useful for both academics and practitioners in gaining a better understanding of how SMEs conduct networking to support internationalization, and which behaviours are more likely to have an impact (positively and
376 International Small Business Journal 29(4) negatively) on the outcomes. The study enriches the knowledge of researchers concerning networks and networking in the internationalizing firm. It also draws out the implications for policy-makers and SME practitioners in order to facilitate behavioural changes and skills development. The study further distinguishes two major effects of networking on the internationalization of firms. First, networking activities influence internationalization patterns of a firm directly in terms of its ‘primary economic transaction’ with foreign customers/clients, or its response to existing network partners developments abroad (Bell, 1995; Coviello and Munro, 1995; Holmlund and Kock, 1998). Second, networking may provide external resources to the firm to support its busi- ness activities, including international business development. The role of networks as sources of resources is essential for resource-constrained SMEs (Coviello, 2006; Oviatt and McDougall, 2005). These two aspects of effects, though often conflated in many studies, need not necessarily be related (Johanson and Mattsson, 1987; Larson, 1992; Turnbull et al., 1996). For example, a firm may create business relationships that provide no more than the economic value (e.g. sales reve- nues or cost reduction) of arm’s-length transactions rather than making additional resources (e.g. capital, human resources, market information, technology) available to the firm to meet its devel- opment needs. The study outlines and examines three core sets of associations, relating to: (1) networking behaviours and the availability of resources; (2) networking behaviours and the internationaliza- tion patterns of firms; (3) availability of resources and the internationalization patterns of firms. The investigation focuses on the achievement of rapid internationalization. Hypotheses are devel- oped and tested using data collected from SMEs that were involved in international business activities. The structure of the article is as follows. The next section reviews existing literature, and based on this hypotheses are generated. The third section describes the sampling and data collection pro- cedure and explains the constructs and measures of variables. The fourth section presents and discusses the statistical findings. The last section presents the conclusions, implications and direc-

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