Social Capital and the Internationalization of the Firm
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Publish date: 2010-12-31
Gospodarka Narodowa 2010;244(11-12):111–125
The paper aims to determine the role of social capital in a process known as the internationalization of the firm. The first part of the article focuses on the concept of corporate social capital as developed by economists Roger Leenders and Shaul Gabbay. The author discusses the features of ties between individual businesses and the structure of these ties as factors shaping the quality of social capital gathered inside a network. The author identifies social capital with a network of business ties, describing social capital as a term with a neutral connotation. Then the network model of the internationalization of the firm is invoked to build a theoretical bridge between social capital and the internationalization of the firm. Under this approach, the main factor behind the internationalization of the firm is membership in an appropriate network of ties. Finally, the author reviews research reports in terms of both gains and potential burdens linked with participation in the network from the perspective of the internationalization process. The coexistence of the positive and negative aspects of corporate social capital may suggest that social capital both stimulates and impedes the internationalization of the firm, Doryń says; however, the current state of empirical research in the analyzed area does not make it possible to put forward any normative recommendations to businesses, she adds. Overall, Doryń concludes that the issue of social capital and its influence on the internationalization of enterprises should be examined in combination with the specific goals of the firm.