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Entrepreneurial Process and Social Networks

Entrepreneurial Process and Social Networks

A Dynamic Perspective

Edited by Alain Fayolle, Sarah L. Jack, Wadid Lamine and Didier Chabaud

Entrepreneurship is undoubtedly a social process and creating a firm requires both the mobilization of social networks and the use of social capital. This book addresses the gap that exists between the need to take these factors into consideration and the understanding of how network relationships are developed and transformed across the venturing process.

Chapter 2: Dynamic social networks of entrepreneurs: five years of change in the networks of Dutch entrepreneurs

Marianne de Beer, Gerald Mollenhorst and Veronique A.J.M. Schutjens

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship


In this chapter the dynamics in the social networks of Dutch entrepreneurs in residential neighbourhoods is explored. We argue that an entrepreneur uses his/her social capital for both business and private purposes. This holds especially for entrepreneurs whose firm is located in or in close proximity to the home, as at the neighbourhood level their private and business activities are often strongly mixed. As such, we contribute to the literature as we focus on role overlap and the importance of the local level in social networks of entrepreneurs. In addition, we contribute by employing a longitudinal perspective on entrepreneurial networks as we analyse whether and to what extent the social networks of entrepreneurs have changed over a five-year period (i.e. between 2008 and 2013). We do so by exploring both network size change and network composition change. Network composition is analysed on three dimensions: (1) family versus non-family network contacts; (2) local versus non-local network contacts; and (3) overlap between business-related and private-related network contacts. We use data from two waves (2008 and 2013) of The Survey on the Social Networks of Entrepreneurs (SSNE1 and SSNE2), resulting in a panel of 214 Dutch entrepreneurs, located in 161 residential neighbourhoods of 40 Dutch municipalities. We found that, on average, the network size increased significantly from 3.79 in 2008 to around 4 network contacts in 2013. Also, the results show that local network contacts become more important over time, whereas no significant changes in family contacts are found. There is evidence of role overlap: the help of one network contact on average is asked for both private and business purposes. Furthermore, we explored the association of network change with different entrepreneur characteristics.

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