Abstract

Research suggests the link between social networks and new venture opportunity recognition, conceptualization, implementation, and performance provides a compelling focal point for new venture activity (Aldrich & Zimmer, 1986; Davidsson & Honig, 2003; Dubini & Aldrich, 1991; Larson & Starr, 1993; Liao & Welsch, 2005; Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998; Singh, Hybels & Hills, 2001). Studies suggest social networks can be sources of information fostering opportunity recognition (e.g., Singh, Hybels & Hills, 2001) and a foundation for acquiring strategically important resources (e.g., Brush & Greene, 1996; Larson & Starr, 1993), but few focus on family business background as it relates to social capital use in the new venture creation process (Dyer, 2003; Marger, 2001). This study focuses on three questions to extend and amplify this line of inquiry. First, is family business background associated with the strength of social “tie” development in the early stages of new venture creation? Second, do men and women with family business backgrounds differ with respect to the strength of social “tie” development they report in the early stages of new venture creation? Third, to what extent does the combination of family business background, gender, and tie strength influence the new venture growth expectations?

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