The Influences of Network Structure on Internationalized SMEs’ Foreign Market Performance: Knowledge Transfer as a Mediator
Although internationalized SMEs have overcome the constraints of resources before internationalization, they have to obtain more knowledge and resources to compete against competitors in the foreign market. According to this point, there are still existing unsolved problems over past literatures. First, whether SMEs could obtain knowledge, information, and experience from domestic network continuously. Second, whether SMEs’ internationalization performance keep growing with the knowledge and information obtained from domestic network. According to the discussion above, this study intended to integrate the views of social capital and organization learning theory on knowledge transfer (tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge) and propose a mediating relationship between network structure (relational and structural embeddedness) and foreign market performance (product innovation and market performance). Moreover, this study also proposed that a firm’s absorptive capability would moderate the relationship between knowledge transfer and foreign market performance. Survey samples of this study were randomly selected from the database of manufacturing industries offered by the Taiwanese official authorities. A total number of 150 valid samples were obtained. Multiple regression analysis and structure equation model (SEM) were adopted to probe into the correlation among network structure, knowledge transfer, and foreign market performance in the manufacturing industry. The findings show that relational embeddedness positively influences knowledge transfer; relationship between structural embeddedness and knowledge transfer partially support; tacit knowledge of knowledge transfer positively influences foreign market performance; no support is found for hypothesis linking explicit knowledge directly with foreign market performance; and the moderating effect of absorptive capability has significant impact on the relationship between knowledge transfer and foreign market performance. Finally, there are some conclusions, theoretical and practical implications, limitations and suggestions provided for the future study.