The mechanisms and processes of entrepreneurial networks: continuity and change.
Dodd, Sarah Drakopoulou
Jack, Sarah L.
Anderson, Alistair R.
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The relevance of networks for entrepreneurship is now well established. However, despite the extent of work carried out there are still clear gaps in our understanding about how networks change and adapt over time and how entrepreneurs actually go about using their networks for entrepreneurship. To deal with these issues we focus on specific network parameters - structure, content and process over time – and present the findings from a three stage longitudinal research project which combined crosssectional qualitative and quantitative data collection. Our findings confirm, not only the relevance of networking for entrepreneurship, but also illustrate how network contacts and the actual structures of networks changed over time. Moreover, our study demonstrates that the network becomes the mechanism for coping and dealing with change. Indeed, the role of the networked entrepreneur within the wider business environment may be as the agent and catalyst of and for change.