From outsider to insider: Opportunity development in foreign market networks

Desirée Blankenburg Holm, Martin Johanson, Pao T. Kao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


By applying the network position concept, we untangle the firm’s recognition and exploitation of opportunities during the internationalisation process. We view the transition of network position from outsidership to insidership, in terms of the strength and number of relationships in the foreign market network. Departing from the revised Uppsala model, we argue that opportunity development in the business network consists of recognition and exploitation. Path dependence impacts how a firm exploits opportunity in the network as well as the next opportunity to be recognised, as they are contingent on the network position. Four opportunities are identified from a historical case study of Elekta, a Swedish medical device manufacturer that entered China between 1980 and 2010. We analyse the initial network position of the firm, its opportunity recognition and exploitation, and the network position of the firm in return. Based on the cases we demonstrate that outsidership tends to lead to discovery, while insidership results in creation. The insidership enables direct and indirect relationships, which are involved in the exploitation of the opportunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-359
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of International Entrepreneurship
Issue number3
Early online date4 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes


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