In the 21st century, even small firms can reach customers located in different, often remote, parts of the world. In fact, internationalisation has become a common phenomenon that affects the majority of companies worldwide. Recent research emphasises that there are numerous determinants of a company's competitive advantage in the international business environment, including product quality, price, and market knowledge. Much less attention, however, has been paid to the role of business relationships.The task of determining the impact of business relationships on performance poses a considerable challenge. In the book, business relationships are operationalised by a set of characteristics and determinants which influence a company's competitive advantage. The contributors here refer to these characteristics and determinants as components of the company's internationalisation maturity. It is argued that a higher level of internationalisation maturity increases the firm's performance.The book includes both conceptual discussions on the role of firms' business relationships in the internationalisation process and results of extensive empirical studies. In order to verify the concept of a firm's internationalisation maturity, a mixed methodology was used, combining quantitative (almost 300 companies) and qualitative (40 case studies) research. As such, the book provides useful insights for academics, students of management and international business, and business practitioners.
Krzysztof Fonfara is Full Professor and Head of the Department of International Marketing at the Poznan University of Economics and Business, Poland. His research interests include the internationalisation process and market orientation. He is the author of six books and over 170 papers published in journals such as International Marketing Review, European Journal of Marketing and Industrial Marketing Management, being a member of the Editorial Board of the latter.Lukasz Malys is Associate Professor at the Poznan University of Economics and Business, Poland. His research relates to the company internationalisation process and business relationships. The author of over 40 publications, he has been involved in numerous consultancy works for business and government organisations.Milena Ratajczak-Mrozek is Associate Professor at the Poznan University of Economics and Business, Poland. Her research concerns companies' relationships and networks in an international setting. She is the author of two books and over 50 papers published in such journals as IMP Journal and Industrial Marketing Management.