A model of rapid knowledge development: the smaller born global firm
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Existing models of the internationalization process have not captured the important phenomenon of accelerated international growth of born-global firms, which led Johanson and Vahlne (2003) to revise their model. However, the revised network model falls short of explaining rapid internationalization of firms. While they indicate a "specific relationship development process" used by born-global managers, Johanson and Vahlne (2003) still suggest the existence of an incremental learning and "responsive" model, which is based on pre-existing relationships. We extend current theory in arguing that born-global managers can use both pre-existing and newly formed relationships, to quickly and proactively develop new knowledge for rapid commercialization of their products. Proactive, advanced relationship-building capability is based around locating partners with technological knowledge with a view to ensuring ease of sharing knowledge. We explore the development of trust and inter-firm partnerships in established and newly formed networks and how these lead to tacit knowledge, absorptive capacity and new knowledge generation. While Johanson and Vahlne (2003) emphasize "market specific experience and operation experience" we emphasize "technological experience". The reason that knowledge sharing is able to proceed quickly is that the shared "technological knowledge" allows rapid transfer and development of new knowledge and the drive to commercialize a product before a competitor, promotes the "mutual need" (co-dependency) to act quickly, characteristic of technology-based industries, which face rapid change. As an outcome of the born-global manager's ability to locate new partners through existing networks, new international links may be quickly developed, with internationalization being an outcome, but not necessarily a driver of behaviour in smaller born-global supply chains.
international Business Review
Copyright 2010 Elsevier Inc. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.