The Theory and Practice of Entrepreneurship
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The Theory and Practice of Entrepreneurship

Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research

Edited by David Smallbone, João Leitão, Mário Raposo and Friederike Welter

This timely book provides a fresh perspective on contemporary research in the field of entrepreneurship and small business, considering both theory and application.
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Chapter 11: The Impact of Legitimacy Building Signals on Access to Resources

Cristina Díaz García and Juan Jiménez Moreno


Cristina Díaz García and Juan Jiménez Moreno INTRODUCTION There is broad consensus in the literature that entrepreneurship is an economic and socially embedded phenomenon (Welter and Smallbone 2008; Steyaert and Katz 2004; Davidsson 2003). Tornikosky (2009) explains that due to the fact that nascent and new firms need to acquire resources they are generally very dependent on external parties, emphasizing the importance of the resource dependence perspective. According to this theory, firms may seek legitimacy through active control in shaping the institutional environment. Previous research has also suggested the use of institutional and social network theory to examine whether or not institutional norms and/or network configurations influence individuals’ ability to acquire resources or grow their ventures (Greene et al. 2003). Specifically, institutionalized social structures at the micro (household), meso and macro levels can have unique implications on women’s entrepreneurship (de Bruin et al. 2007). Drawing upon these theories, the aim of this study is to find out if business-owners can procure more resources that are needed to be successful and potentially grow by sending signals of legitimacy to their environment through their personal characteristics and social capital. Questions that this study aims to answer include: which are the sources of legitimacy for new ventures? Which are the entrepreneurial networks that are effective at facilitating access to complementary resources? Does their gender assist/constrain women in dealing with the external business environment? Following a review of the literature, these issues are examined based on data from a survey of...

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