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Call for papers
Workshop "Strategic Entrepreneurship: The Role of Social Networks"
July 3-4, 2006
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Organization Science, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Organized by Tom Elfring (VU Amsterdam) & Michael Hitt (Texas A&M University)
Deadline for Abstracts: March 30, 2006
Contact person: Tom Elfring, E-mail: [log in to unmask]
Gautam Ahuja (University of Michigan)
Daniel Brass (University of Kentucky)
Tina Dacin (Queen's University at Kingston)
Julie Hite (Brigham Young University)
Wim Hulsink (RSM Erasmus University)
Duane Ireland (Texas A&M University)
Martin Kilduff (Penn State University)
Christian Lechner (ESC Toulouse)
Anoop Madhok (York University)
Bart Nooteboom (Tilburg University)
John Ulhoi (Aarhus School of Business)
Purpose and Content:
Based on the work of Burt and Uzzi recent research on social capital and relational capital highlight the value of social networks and relational embeddedness (e.g., Baum, Calabrese & Silverman, 2000; Burt, 1992; Walker, Kogut and Shan, 1997; Uzzi, 1997; Hitt, Bierman, Uhlenbruck & Shimizu, 2006). The emerging literature on the network paradigm in organizational research (Borgatti & Foster, 2003; Brass, Galaskiewicz, Greve & Tsai, 2004; Dacin, Ventresca & Beal, 1999; Uzzi & Gillespei, 2002) generally concludes that networks have many benefits such as trust building, sharing of information, and engaging in joint problem solving. Firms with social and relational capital have a higher survival rate in competitive environments (Holcomb, Holmes & Hitt, 2006) and perform at higher levels (Batjargal, 2003; Hitt et al, 2006). However, it has also become clear that networks are not always beneficial and that participation in networks can have unintended negative consequences. More networking is not necessarily better; networks have also their dark sides (Collins, 2005; Gargiulo & Benassi, 1999; Lechner, Dowling & Welpe, 2005). Particular network ties may have detrimental effects on performance and choices have to be made which network ties to develop. The key challenge is determining which ties matter and when they matter (Gulati & Higgens, 2003). In some studies the beneficial effects of a dense network structure are found, while others stress the positive effects of a sparse networks with structural holes on performance (Burt, 1992; McEvily & Zaheer, 1999). Similarly, the debate on what combination of weak and strong ties is most beneficial has not yet been resolved (Elfring & Hulsink, 2003; Jack, 2005). Furthermore, informal social networks play a different role than formal agreements, such as alliances. Both types of networks are required, but it is not clear how they interact, for example, whether informal networks may support the effectiveness of formal collaborations (Cross, Borgatti & Parker, 2002). Finally, the strength of ties and the structure of the network have an impact on organizational performance, however, increasingly scholars find evidence that what flows through the network ties, in other words the content of the ties, is of importance as well (Podolny & Baron, 1997; Rodan & Galunic, 2004). Thus, more research is needed to understand when social and relational capital produces higher performance and when embeddedness should be reduced in to avoid negative consequences.
This workshop will contribute to the above discussion by exploring new perspectives on the question how, when, and under what conditions social and relational capital matter for both opportunity and advantage seeking actions by entrepreneurial firms. We invite participants to study relevant questions in many different contexts to identify how network benefits are contingent on the fit between a particular network configuration (including issues such as levels of analysis (Ibarra, Kilduff & Tsai, 2005)) and the organizational context. The design of effective networks and relationships is part of the strategic entrepreneurship challenge in both small firms, such as start-ups, and large established companies. For example, the relationship between networking and entrepreneurship has drawn increasing attention (Hoang & Antoncic, 2003; Greve & Salaff, 2003; Witt, 2004), but the way network ties are beneficial for opportunity and advantage seeking strategies in small firms requires much more investigation. Potential network benefits can be studied with regard to various important topics within the strategic entrepreneurship domain such as new product development and internationalisation. Moreover, strategic management research traditionally concentrated on the impact of formal network ties, such as alliances, on the performance of established companies (Madhok, 2002). More recently this work is complemented with studies on the effects of informal social networks on entrepreneurial behaviour and on innovation strategies of large companies (Simsek, Lubatkin & Floyd, 2003). The latter focus on opportunity seeking behaviour can in combination with the traditional alliances studies address the joint challenge of how networks affect both opportunity and advantage seeking in the strategic entrepreneurship paradigm.
We aim to have approximately 25-30 participants. If you are interested in participating, please send an abstract of your paper of no more than 500 words by March 30th to Tom Elfring at [log in to unmask] Decisions to participate are made by April 15th. Full papers are expected by June 15th.
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