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Network resources and international performance of high tech SMEs

Breda Kenny (Tipperary Institute, Thurles, Ireland)
John Fahy (University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 9 August 2011




This study aims to identify and examine the relationship between network resources and international performance of high tech small to medium‐sized enterprises (HTSME) in the telecommunications industry in Ireland. The network resource construct for this paper comprises three dimensions: network human capital resources, network resource combination, and information sharing.


Empirical research was carried out using a mail survey in which 154 firms completed and returned the questionnaire. Three hypotheses were analysed using structural equations modelling using LISREL.


The study's main finding suggests a positive relationship between a firm's network human capital resources and international performance. However, no support was found for the relationship between network resources combinations, information sharing and international performance.

Research limitations/implications

This study is cross‐sectional, confined to a single industry and focused on the role of networks in the HTSME context only. Results from this study provide policy makers and practitioners with additional insights into specific network resource‐based factors that are associated with international performance for HTSMEs. Such an assessment would help identify specific areas of relationship strengths and weaknesses in terms of the level of human capital available to firms, the combinations of complementary resources across firms and the extent and level of information exchange between firms.

Practical implications

The paper concludes with a discussion of these findings and the overall implications for policy makers and managers. Specifically, it is necessary to identify and review the types of resources that are critical to the international performance of firms and develop and implement business strategies building on those resources in order to enhance the likelihood of international success.


This study offers a multiple dimensionality to the network resource concept by measuring the direct effect of the type of network resources in terms of human capital, information and network resource combinations on international performance of HTSMEs in the telecommunications industry. These findings advance network research by highlighting the trade‐offs that networks impose on firms that seek to manage and leverage their network resources.



Kenny, B. and Fahy, J. (2011), "Network resources and international performance of high tech SMEs", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 529-555.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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