A Research Perspective
Edited by Candida G. Brush, Anne de Bruin, Elizabeth J. Gatewood and Colette Henry
Chapter 12: Male and Female Entrepreneurs’ Networks at Four Venture Stages
Kim Klyver and Siri Terjesen INTRODUCTION Entrepreneurs are embedded in social networks (Aldrich and Zimmer, 1986; Hoang and Antoncic, 2003) which can provide access to valuable resources including information about markets, innovations, capital, investors and other key business inputs (Cromie and Birley, 1992; Low and MacMillan, 1988), as well as emotional support (Brüderl and Preissendörfer, 1998), legitimacy and reputation (Lin, 2001). A growing body of literature demonstrates the dynamic nature of entrepreneurial networks (for example, Greve and Salaff, 2003; Larson and Starr, 1993; Moore and Buttner, 1997). Networks change over time as entrepreneurs activate and configure resources to develop sustainable business opportunities. In this process, entrepreneurs develop networks to support different activities and make decisions (Evald et al., 2006; Larson and Starr, 1993). For example, larger networks may aid entrepreneurs seeking access to non-redundant information about markets, innovations and other key business inputs (Evald et al., 2006; Renzulli et al., 2000). An emerging stream of research investigates the presence of gender differences in entrepreneurs’ social networks (for example, McGowan and Hampton, 2007), with mixed results. Despite the high participation by females in entrepreneurial activities around the world (Allen et al., 2008) and awareness of their role in economic development (OECD, 2000), there is limited academic attention to women’s entrepreneurship (Baker et al., 1997; de Bruin et al., 2006). Extant gender research is generally concerned with how female entrepreneurs’ practices differ from those of men (for example, Birley, 1989; Fielden and Dawe, 2004), and the impact on various measures...
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