Incorporating Inter-Firm Social Capital into International Business Theory
This paper explores and provides an understanding of how B-to-B relationships can be better understood by incorporating a social capital (SC) framework. It argues that SC dimensions (i.e., relational, cognitive and structural), underpin alliances that are salient to international business (IB). A synthesis of the literature on B-to-B SC and loyalty into a single, process-based framework is established, together with institutional texture insights for firms to harness and develop for success. The central argument is that investments in relationship building not only enhance B-to-B loyalty but over time fashion the nature and depth of the alliance for the international firm. The paper adds to the literature on international B-to-B collaborations whilst having the potential in providing managerially relevant ("actionable") results in ‘how’ and in ‘what way’ B-to-B SC can be harnessed in the 21st century IB system.