A cross-cultural comparison of the network capability development of entrepreneurial firms

Helen McGrath, Thomas O'Toole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The business-to-business network literature has made interesting and insightful contributions in relation to networks as a core trajectory for external resource acquisition for the small, entrepreneurial firm. Using the micro-brewing industry in Ireland and Belgium as an empirical base, the purpose of this paper is to extend this research through examining the relationship between national culture and the development of network capability in an entrepreneurial context. Findings from in-depth interviews with fourteen firms, and analysed in light of Hofstede's five dimensions illustrate that culture matters. Low power distance facilitated network capability development through wider network engagement. High masculinity and individualism negatively impacted network capability development as evidenced by a lack of experience in interaction, a desire for control and independence and minimal information sharing. Strong uncertainty avoidance scores allowed for joint problem-solving and industry cooperation whereas a short-term orientation led to more transaction-based exchange within the value chain. The core contribution of this paper stems from it being the first rigorous investigation regarding how national culture impacts network capability development in a business-to-business network context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)897-910
Number of pages14
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sep 2014


  • Culture
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Hofstede
  • Micro-brewery sector
  • Network capability


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