Inside the 'Black Box' of the Born Global Network
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From inception, born global firms attempt to gain competitive advantage over their competitors by using the limited resources available to them, and by the development of their sales internationally (Oviatt & McDougall, 1994). Given the lack of resources available to born globals, with respect to larger international competitors, the importance of their social capital and network ties in addressing liabilities of newness, smallness and foreignness has received limited attention (Gabrielsson & Kirpalani, 2012). How these 'network ties' actually operate and the dynamic positions and roles within these networks, are, as yet, also not fully understood. Therefore, this thesis addresses these issues by examining the 'black box' of the social networks and connectors, which born globals draw upon in their efforts to internationalise. The thesis draws upon the extant literature on international entrepreneurship, international business, born global theory and social networking. This study adds to the 'budding' literature on born global internationalisation. In particular, the thesis has adopted a 'network perspective' allowing an examination of the elements within the born global internationalising network, based on an examination of indigenous Irish Digital, Film and TV production firms. An all island representative set of firms, inclusive of twenty highly successful entrepreneurs are used to empirically investigate the research questions. The study gives explicit recognition to each of the 'links' within the network and allows the researcher point to a 'menu' of connectors and ties therein, both strong and weak. Based on these research findings, the thesis's main theoretical contribution is the development of a potential 'suite of connectors' from which born globals can draw on during the internationalisation process. Explicitly, a 'microscopic view' of the network has revealed the links and hubs in this born global network. Overall, the 'born global tale' has been unveiled, highlighting each stage and part of the process for born global internationalisation.