Small and medium sized enterprises (SME) take much higher economical, political, social and cultural risks than large corporations when it comes to getting involved abroad. Negotiation marathons, product boycotts, share price variations, bribery demands and terrorist attacks are only a few of the problems these companies have to face. Building and maintaining transnational networks (be them personal or business) is considered an important tool to control such internationalization risks. Such networks are not just an instrument to manage risks, but can paradoxically be the cause of new risks for all parties involved. For example: Even though both sides had agreed to cooperate there is a chance that one side would prioritize its own interests above the agreed cooperation. This then questions the cooperation within the entire network. The scientists working for Fortrans go beyond traditional network research as they combine investigations in internationalization with network integration risks. From this they develop a new understanding of risk management as a cross-cultural interaction. Fortrans gives organizational advice, which is important especially for the Bavarian economy because of its large share of medium business and its intensive involvement/assignment abroad. A cooperation of this size between humanities and the social sciences applied to network research so far only exists in Bavaria. The scientists of the four Bavarian universities themselves are part of networks which integrate research partners not only from Germany, but also from other European countries, America and Asia.
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