Abstract

In entrepreneurship, one of the enduring questions is why some entrepreneurs and not others are able to acquire the necessary resources during the otherwise resource scarce start-up process. This has predominately been explained by structural variations in entrepreneurs’ social networks. However, the question remains whether resource acquisition is best explained by structural variations in networks, by social-psychological variations in individuals’ characteristics, or by combinations of such variations.

Moving the explanation from network structures towards network agency, we argue that entrepreneurs’ social skills – their capacity to benefit from social interaction – impact their resource acquisition directly, but also indirectly through their social embeddedness into structures of available resources.

We distinguish between two types of social skills: social competences capturing individuals’ ability to interact with others, and networking comfort capturing individuals’ comfort with using networking strategically. We postulate that both these skills influence entrepreneurs’ resource acquisition, and further that these influences are mediated by entrepreneurs’ social embeddedness into structures of available resources.

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