From Data Sources to Information Sharing in SME Collaborative Networks Supporting Internationalization: A Socio-Semantic Approach
Information is a crucial asset to successful internationalization, as it allows to reduce risks and uncertainty and to facilitate international expansion. Information about foreign markets and activities can be obtained by companies from internal or external sources, and in formal or informal ways. Industrial business associations (IBAs) are one of the external information sources. Due to their resource constraints, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) tend to highly depend on the services and information of IBAs to expand their business overseas. However, to improve their role in supporting SME internationalization, one important development is for IBAs to evolve towards more collaborative networks, by sharing more organized and valued information with their associates, but also by fostering information flows and more collaborations between them. This paper contributes to this view by synthetizing current data and information sources to support SME internationalization, based on a literature review, on interviews with Portuguese IBAs, and on expert opinion. An innovative aspect is to present a first instantiation of a socio-semantic model, opening paths for further developments in this area, and contributing to the community of Collaborative Networks.
KeywordsData and information sources Internationalization of SMEs International business Business associations Collaborative networks Socio-semantic approach
This research was funded by the Portuguese funding agency, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT), through the Ph.D. Studentship SFRH/BD/110131/2015. It was also supported by the Project “TEC4Growth - Pervasive Intelligence, Enhancers and Proofs of Concept with Industrial Impact/NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000020” financed by the North Portugal Regional Operational Programme (NORTE 2020), under the PORTUGAL 2020 Partnership Agreement, and through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
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