Historical Foundations of Entrepreneurship Research
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Historical Foundations of Entrepreneurship Research

Edited by Hans Landström and Franz T. Lohrke

This book historicizes entrepreneurship research, its primary thesis being ‘history matters’. Expert contributors discuss the field’s long history and explore whether it has developed a mature and comprehensive knowledge base. The intellectual roots of several important theories are then examined in depth because, as entrepreneurship research has become more theory driven, and scholars have borrowed theories from many different fields, it becomes increasingly important to understand their origin. Finally, the book demonstrates how economic history research (for example, the historical and institutional context of entrepreneurial behaviour) can contribute to our understanding of entrepreneurship.
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Chapter 12: The Historical Roots of Socio Network Theory in Entrepreneurship Research

Sarah Jack and Mary Rose


Sarah Jack and Mary Rose INTRODUCTION The field of entrepreneurship has seen a dramatic increase in studies focusing on networks and social relations. This is particularly evident amongst European scholars where network research has emerged as a popular theme since the turn of the century (Uhlaner, 2002). Such interest can partly be attributed to scholars moving away from dealing with the entrepreneur in isolation and instead looking to the consequences of embeddedness and the impact, implications and relevance of networks for entrepreneurship (Hoang and Antoncic, 2003). This line of enquiry has possibly come about as a reaction against the view that the entrepreneur is an atomistic, isolated economic actor, undersocialised and immersed in a process quite different from other social phenomena (Araujo and Easton, 1996; Hoang and Antoncic, 2003). Instead, current thinking seems to be that social relations and the social context cannot only influence entrepreneurship but, because economic action is embedded, social networks can impact economic performance and, consequently, the shape and form of entrepreneurial outcomes (Granovetter, 1992; Ring and Van de Ven, 1992; Snow et al., 1992; Jones, Hesterly and Borgatti, 1997; Arrow, 2000; Jack and Anderson, 2002). It has even been said that within the entrepreneurial context, entrepreneurs are actually a product of their social environment, and how they perceive opportunities is influenced by social interaction and social background (Anderson and Miller, 2002). Some have gone so far as to argue that entrepreneurship is actually a social undertaking which is carried out in – and so should be...

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