Paper info: Relationship building in effectual networking, social networking and business networking: an empirical comparison of complementary approaches in entrepreneurial research
Relationship building in effectual networking, social networking and business networking: an empirical comparison of complementary approaches in entrepreneurial research
Telecom Business School
Place of Publication
The paper was published at the 35th IMP-conference in Paris, France in 2019.
Researchers in the IMP tradition are adding to the growing body of ‘realistic’ research on new ventures that is emerging to challenge the dominant causation logic in entrepreneurial research. The industrial networking approach complements other emerging network-centric approaches with its focus on interactions between actors who develop relationships. Effectuation theory, social networking theory and business theory have also sought to generate insightful models of entrepreneurial behaviour within dynamic networking frameworks. While network emergence and development is at the heart of all these theoretical advances, they differ in the relative importance they afford to the actions of the entrepreneur and the influence of the network as well as in their epistemological ambitions. All researchers, however, argue that more empirical work is needed to enhance our understanding of the behaviours of actors, their relationships and the dynamics of stability and change in entrepreneurial networks. In this paper, four in-depth case studies of French start-ups are analyzed using the different models of entrepreneurial networks. The comparative analysis of the start-up phase highlights the value of the different approaches to understand the network dynamics at different stages in the process. The industrial networking approach is found to be particularly rich in explaining dynamics of relationship building as the entrepreneurial network evolves and the influence of the network as stability reduces the potential for effectuation on the part of the entrepreneur. In particular, by focusing on the relationships of the entrepreneurial within its evolving network, the IMP approach offers insight into how entrepreneurs address uncertainty and position themselves in as-yet undefined markets. Further research is recommended on the process of ending certain relationships at key junctures in the entrepreneurial process.