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Trustworthy Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Network Partners: Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Partnerships in the International Entrepreneurial Process

Claus Schreier, Sylvie Scherrer, Nuntana Udomkit and Jillaine Farrar

Global Business Review, 2020, vol. 21, issue 1, 88-107

Abstract: Abstract This study explores how 40 decision-makers from Swiss and Thai small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) engage and develop international partnerships to discover, create, evaluate and exploit entrepreneurial opportunities across borders. Despite the growing importance of international entrepreneurship research, there is little research considering how entrepreneurial SMEs from different cultural contexts interact with international partners to develop international entrepreneurial opportunities. The findings show how Thai and Swiss entrepreneurs engage in the development of international partnerships to create, explore and exploit opportunities. The empirical study further emphasizes the importance of trustworthy and close interpersonal relationships. The meaning of friendship in culturally different countries is also explored as it pertains to the process of SME internationalization. The findings show important cultural differences. In the collectivistic Thai context, personal and professional networks are closely intertwined. In the development of new partnerships, Thai SMEs pursue the clear objective of developing friendships. In the individualistic Swiss context, partnerships mostly originate from opportunities in the professional context and relationships tend to develop more coincidentally into a trusted friendship.

Keywords: SME internationalization; international entrepreneurship; partnership; entrepreneurial opportunity; networks; decision-making; individualism; collectivism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1177/0972150919850414

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