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Social Capital and International Business Networks: The Case of a Fair Trade Organization


Geldres-Weiss VV, Soto MA, Ramos HR and Uribe CT

When observing trade relationships governed by the principles of Fair Trade it becomes interesting to know how these organizations have grown and innovated to be inserted in a global market, generating international business networks for expanding their markets and products. The networks have received little consideration in Fair Trade literature. Social capital is defined as the relationships, expressed through social networks, personal contacts that individuals and organizations develop to allow them access advantages and benefits, which is an important factor to generate a competitive advantage. The objective of the research is to analyze the relationship among social capital and networks of international business in the field of fair trade, and the results of this interaction in the international performance of the organization object of study. The methodology used is qualitative exploratory. A case analysis of Chol-Chol Foundation in the Region of La Araucania in Chile was performed. The results show that the social capital developed by the organization, through the transfer of knowledge through families, belonged to the Fair Trade network and being able to rely on different national and international support networks, has allowed opening up to international markets where the increase in the number of countries, external customers and a wide range of products is remarkable. However, the organization has failed to maintain presence in the markets which puts at risk the existing networks.

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