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Social capital, knowledge, and the international growth of technology-based new firms


  • Yli-Renko, H.
  • Autio, E.
  • Tontti, V.


This paper develops a model of the international growth of technology-based new firms (TBNFs) by drawing on the social capital theory and the knowledge-based view of the firm. The model aims at explaining the role of intra- and inter-organizational relationships in building the firm's distinctive knowledge base and in achieving international growth. It is hypothesized that internal and external social capital influence the acquisition and creation of knowledge, and that knowledge is a key resource driving the international growth of TBNFs. The model also takes into account the influence of growth orientation on international growth. The model is tested with longitudinal growth data from Finnish TBNFs. Structural equation modeling provides support for the hypotheses. The results suggest highly relevant practical implications for entrepreneurs: by fostering social capital within the firm and in external relationships, significant benefits can be achieved for the firm's knowledge base and international growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Yli-Renko, H. & Autio, E. & Tontti, V., 2002. "Social capital, knowledge, and the international growth of technology-based new firms," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 279-304, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:iburev:v:11:y:2002:i:3:p:279-304

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Otto Andersen, 1993. "On the Internationalization Process of Firms: A Critical Analysis," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 24(2), pages 209-231, June.
    2. Hadjikhani, Amjad, 1997. "A note on the criticisms against the internationalization process model," Working Papers 1997:2, Uppsala University, Department of Business Studies.
    3. Utterback, James M. & Meyer, Marc & Roberts, Edward & Reitberger, Goren, 1988. "Technology and industrial innovation in Sweden: A study of technology-based firms formed between 1965 and 1980," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 15-26, February.
    4. James Steiger & Alexander Shapiro & Michael Browne, 1985. "On the multivariate asymptotic distribution of sequential Chi-square statistics," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 253-263, September.
    5. Mark Casson (ed.), 1990. "Entrepreneurship," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 537.
    6. Zhao, Liming & Aram, John D., 1995. "Networking and growth of young technology-intensive ventures in China," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 10(5), pages 349-370, September.
    7. Phillips McDougall, Patricia & Shane, Scott & Oviatt, Benjamin M., 1994. "Explaining the formation of international new ventures: The limits of theories from international business research," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 9(6), pages 469-487, November.
    8. Kent Eriksson & Jan Johanson & Anders Majkgård & D Deo Sharma, 1997. "Experimental Knowledge and Costs in the Internationalization Process," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 28(2), pages 337-360, June.
    9. Birley, Sue, 1985. "The role of networks in the entrepreneurial process," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 107-117.
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