First Name: Frances
Department Dept of Marketing and Management
Supervisor(s): Associate Professor Cynthia Webster , Dr Robert Jack
Entrepreneurs’ networks in the internationalisation process
Creating purposeful networks when entrepreneurs internationlise.
This study explores the processes by which entrepreneurs within healthcare industry source, build and maintain networks to generate access to critical resources and increase capacity to enter international markets. Specific emphasis is given to examining the key structural characteristics of networks used in internationalisation.
This study is one of the few to consider the structural asepcts of networks in the internationalisation process of entrepreneurs in the Australian healthcare industry. Results suggest that entrepreneurs who see internationlisation as key to business growth are active and strategic in developing networks, making use of existing as well as serendipitous contacts.
Key literature/theoretical perspective
Insights for this study are drawn from literature in the fields of networks, internationalisation, and entrepreneurship.
A multi-method approach is employed. Both quantitative and qualitative data obtained through semi structured, in-depth face interviews with CEOs/owners of healthcare companies are analysed. Nvivo software is used to assist in qualitative data analysis of the interview data. NetDraw and UCINET 6 software programs are used to produce the network graphs and to analyse the quantitative structural aspects of networks.
Entrepreneurs are strategic in developing networks to internationalise. While they are willing to take chances, their actions are intentional and not accidental. There is strong reliance on pre-existing networks of both informal and formal relationships such as friends, business colleagues, suppliers and distributors. When pre-existing networks lack required resources, entrepreneurs resort to a referral strategy resulting in networks that tend to be sparse and fairly centralized.
Sparse networks offer more access to information and opportunities for entrepreneurs. Government agencies play an important bridging role in connecting entrepreneurs to international business contacts.
Networks, Internationlisation, Entrepreneurs.