Abstract

This paper presents a novel test of structural hole theory (Burt, 1992) using a large dataset on firm positions in intercorporate networks. Structural hole theory suggests individuals, organizations - and even industries - occupying brokerage positions in networks are more likely to exhibit entrepreneurial behaviors because of access to non-redundant information in a network. The current empirical study investigates corporate venture capital investment (CVC) among S&P500 companies to see if firms occupying brokerage positions in interlocking boards invest more in corporate entrepreneurship.

Interlocking boards are critical to 'business scan' (Useem, 1984), or executive efforts to access and integrate information about changing business environments and organizational opportunities. Additionally, existing management research shows clearly that interlocking boards are a locus for the diffusion of information about new organizational practices (such as acquisition strategies), new organizational forms (such as the M-form organization), and executive job opportunities (Haunschild, 1993, Palmer, Jennings & Zhou, 1993, Mizruchi 1996; Geletkanycz & Hambrick, 1997). This research examines the implications of information flow at the board level and asks: How do firm positions in interlocking boards impact corporate entrepreneurship?

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