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Understanding networking dynamics in born global firms’ internationalization: balancing the mix of physical and virtual networking in B2B markets

Anita Ellen Tobiassen (Oslo Business School, Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway)
Inger Beate Pettersen (The Mohn Centre for Innovation and Regional Development, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen, Norway)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 7 April 2022

Issue publication date: 22 January 2023

853

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore how born global firms (BGs) in business to business (B2B) markets balance the mix of physical and virtual networking through social media to gain access to resources throughout their internationalization process. Further, the research seeks to understand these firms’ network dynamics in their continual adaptation to changing resource requirements throughout the internationalization process.

Design/methodology/approach

This research adopts a multiple case study approach based on in-depth interviews with founders and key informants in BGs in the software industry, supplemented with extensive secondary data.

Findings

Results reveal that networking through social media is efficient and can be used to access vital resources and to build trusting relationships in a B2B context, yet in combination with physical networking. This research found several boundary conditions related to the mix of physical and virtual networking, i.e. the relationship culture in the industry, strategic importance of partner/customer, type of product complexity and managers’ perceptions of the usefulness of social media in a B2B context. These conditions could evolve over time.

Originality/value

This research contributes to enhanced understanding of how resource-constrained BGs balance the mix of physical and virtual networking through social media in a B2B context, influenced by boundary conditions, achieving a network dynamic to advance internationalization.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge Karl Kristian Nordlid and Daniel Tjønn Thingvoll for doing the first round of interviews as part of their master thesis. The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their very insightful comments.

Citation

Tobiassen, A.E. and Pettersen, I.B. (2023), "Understanding networking dynamics in born global firms’ internationalization: balancing the mix of physical and virtual networking in B2B markets", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 38 No. 3, pp. 494-506. https://doi.org/10.1108/JBIM-12-2020-0534

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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