Abstract

Scholars agree that entrepreneurs’ networks are important during early venturing (Borgatti & Foster, 2003). Research suggests entrepreneurs’ networks are associated with obtaining new information, identifying opportunities (Burt, 2004; Granovetter, 1973), and acquiring resources (Wu, Wang, Chen & Pan, 2008). Interestingly, while research has investigated antecedents to and consequences of engaging in network relationships, most research has focused on consequences (Hoang & Antoncic, 2003). Resultantly, a gap has emerged in our understanding of how entrepreneurs’ networks develop and change over time. This is problematic because some scholars contend that changing resource needs during venture development necessitate a concomitant change in entrepreneurs’ networks to allow access to newly-needed resources (Greve & Salaff, 2003; Hite & Hesterly, 2001). If entrepreneurs’ networks need to evolve over time as resource requirements change, more research is needed studying their dynamics. To address this, we explore two questions – How does the size of an early-stage entrepreneur’s network affect the subsequent structural (e.g., size) and content (e.g., knowledge heterogeneity) character of their network? How does the strength of an early-stage entrepreneur’s network ties affect the subsequent structural (e.g., size and tie strength) and content (e.g., knowledge heterogeneity) character of their network?

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