A human interaction approach to networking capabilities and international opportunity enactment : an exploration of German high-technology manufacturing SMEs

  • Michael Schellenberg

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This study addresses recent calls to advance knowledge on networking capability (Mitrega et al., 2012; Gr├╝nberg-Bochard and Kreis-Hoyer, 2009; Sullivan Mort and Weerawardena, 2006) and international opportunity (Mamun, 2015; Mainela et al., 2014). Its rationale is to explore network capabilities in the enactment of international opportunities in German high-technology manufacturing SMEs in business-to-business markets. The study focuses on these capabilities and their contribution to the successful international expansion of such firms at three different business relationship levels: inter-personal, inter-organisational and country-level. Three objectives are formulated: 1) to explore the networking capabilities for German high-technology manufacturing SMEs in the successful identification and enactment of international opportunities; 2) to identify key factors that contribute to the successful enactment of international opportunities for such firms at inter-personal, inter-organisational and country levels; and 3) to develop theoretical integration between networking capabilities and international expansion of these firms. These objectives are addressed through a qualitative methodology, comprising 17 face-to-face interviews with key decision-makers and supplementary discussions with industry-experts. The originality of the study lies in its effort to integrate insights from international opportunity research with the networking capability concept. This study identifies the networking capabilities of Personal Interaction Capabilities, Interpersonal Liking Capabilities, Trust Capabilities, Capabilities to Maintain Relationships, Knowledge Exchange Capabilities, Pride as well as Cultural Familiarity; and explores the typical entrepreneurial behaviour key decision-makers display in their network relationships and corresponding human interactions. The study contributes to networking capability research by identifying a set of capabilities essential for the successful enactment of international opportunities. It also advances knowledge on how, once identified, international opportunities are enacted in dynamic and fast-moving high technology markets. The study also proposes some managerial implications in relation to entrepreneurial behaviour in networks, as well as the utilisation and development of such capabilities, and identifies some areas for future research.
Date of Award7 Jun 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde
SupervisorAliakbar Jafari (Supervisor) & Michael John Harker (Supervisor)

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