The identification, formation and maintenance of internatiuonal network relationships: a SME perspective

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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MSc program in Entrepreneurship
MSc program in Entrepreneurship
Degree programme
Purpose : The growing number of SMEs is an important phenomenon that has gained attention among researchers and policy makers in Finland and Europe. The purpose of this thesis is to increase our understanding, how SMEs identify, form and maintain international network relationships. This will be achieved by studying and building on existing literature on this topic. Methodology : This study adapts an interpretive qualitative single case study approach applying a systematic combining abductive method. A target partner is studied. Findings : Three empirical findings emerge from this study. First, face-to-face meetings show importance in building trust and lowering cultural barriers between network partners. Second, good human relationships with network partners and competitors reflect a core element in the successful development of international networks and partnerships. Third, distinguishing aspects between national and international network partners reveal important aspects that benefit this study. Based on our findings three contributions are produced. The first is a framework of business processes and practices. The second is better understanding of the partner's benefits, intentions and expectations. The third is observation of culture differences in maintaining international relationships.
SME, identification, formation, maintenance, internationalization, network relationships, qualitative, single case study, processes, practices, culture, trust
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