Journal of International Entrepreneurship

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 80–103 | Cite as

SMEs and networks: Overcoming the liability of outsidership

  • Roger Schweizer


Despite extensive research on the importance of business networks for the internationalization of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), there is still a lack of knowledge on how such firms actively create networks that facilitate their international expansion. By employing and thereby also developing the concept of liability of outsidership, we offer a process description of how an SME actively transitions from being an outsider to an insider for its internationalization-relevant network. Drawing on evidence from a single case study, we offer a process depiction consisting of four interrelated phases of how an SME actively overcomes liability of outsidership when internationalizing its activities, i.e., (1) Realization of the existence of liability of outsidership through internal/external triggers, (2) Identification of the relevant network, (3) Re-bundling resources and capabilities, and (4) Accessing, managing, and leveraging opportunities identified in the new network.


Liability of outsidership SME Networks Internationalization process 



The author wishes to thank JIEN’s reviewers and Hamid Etemad, the editor, for their helpful suggestions on this article. The author acknowledges and is grateful for the financial support provided by the Broman Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Business Administration, School of Business, Economics and LawUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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