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Networking capability and international entrepreneurship: How networks function in Australian born global firms

Gillian Sullivan Mort (Department of Marketing, Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Southport, Australia)
Jay Weerawardena (UQ Business School, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 1 September 2006




International entrepreneurship (IE) is a new field of multi‐disciplinary enquiry that has its origins in the research on born globals. Within international marketing the concept has attracted the attention of researchers examining the factors driving small‐ and medium‐size firm internationalisation. These small, rapidly internationalising, entrepreneurial new ventures have recently both challenged and fascinated scholars and practitioners. While IE researchers are beginning to call for a broadening of the field of IE enquiry, this research continues the focus on the special breed of small firms, the born globals. We do this to deepen our understanding of IE, and focus on networking in born globals to attempt to develop richer insights directed towards establishing more in‐depth understanding and more robust theoretical frameworks.


Relationships and networking have been important in internationalisation studies for some time, and for small firms in particular are of interest for their role in helping overcome “resource poverty”. Case study method is adopted to examine the generative mechanisms and processes of networking capabilities. Drawing on six exemplar case studies from low‐tech and hi‐tech industry sectors, this research identifies the role and characteristics of the entrepreneurial owner/manager and the development of networking capability over time.


Fundamental and secondary networking capabilities are identified. How networking capability enables identification and exploitation of market opportunities, facilitates the development of knowledge‐intensive products and firm international market performance in the born global firm is discussed. The issue of network rigidity is also highlighted. A conceptual model is presented, implications discussed and future research directions, in particular the extension of networking capability research to large firms exhibiting IE, are promulgated.


Overall the findings of the study contribute to the development of IE research by identifying the centrality and scope of the impact of networking capabilities in small born global firms arguing that dynamic networking capability characterises IE in this context.



Sullivan Mort, G. and Weerawardena, J. (2006), "Networking capability and international entrepreneurship: How networks function in Australian born global firms", International Marketing Review, Vol. 23 No. 5, pp. 549-572.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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