The Usefulness of Network Experiential Knowledge in the Internationalization Process
Sammanfattning: This thesis focuses on knowledge as one of the most critical competitive factors and the capability of the internationalizing firm. It contributes to internationalization research by connecting the view of embedded networks as knowledge generators to the view of experiential knowledge acquisition in the internationalization process of firms. The thesis identifies a specific form of experiential knowledge: “network experiential knowledge” defined as the experiential knowledge a firm accumulates in its network of embedded business relationships. The internationalization process implies use of knowledge, and also that not all knowledge is perceived as equally useful by firms. There was therefore reason to study network experiential knowledge and its usefulness. Thus, the general purpose of this thesis is to study the usefulness of network experiential knowledge in the internationalization process of firms. The thesis shows, through qualitative and quantitative research, that network experiential knowledge is perceived as useful to firms, in their development of ongoing international business, and that this knowledge is embedded in networks of business relationships. It might be in the whole network but it can also be in a part of the network. The thesis shows that the perceived usefulness of network experiential knowledge is affected by variation in country markets and international experience. The effects of need of knowledge, market variation, cost, product standardization, and involvement on the usefulness of knowledge from client’s network is investigated and shown. The thesis also demonstrates that perceived usefulness of network experiential knowledge has an effect on firm performance.
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