Abstract

Estimates indicate that roughly one-third of all new businesses close within the first two years and that over half of new firms close in their first four years (Headd, 2003; Knaup, 2005). These data provide insight into the precarious and tumultuous experience that new entrepreneurial ventures encounter in their first years of business. To provide insight into the new venture experience, recent research highlights the need to view the entrepreneurial process as one in which interacting individuals, rather than lone individuals, are at the core of organizational evolution (West, 2007). To extend this line of thinking, (Gartner, Shaver, Gatewood, & Katz, 1994; Timmons, 1994), the present research draws on successful past paradigms indicating that 1) a social networking perspective holds promise for predicting performance (Bouwen & Steyaert, 1990; Coviello, 2005; Greve & Salaff, 2005; Peng, 2004), and 2) the relational interactions between group members (TMX, Seers, 1989) influences overall performance. Our goal is to assess what factors enable entrepreneurial groups to be as successful as possible and, thereby, improve the long term viability of new ventures.

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