Abstract

Management scholars have long recognized the importance of social networks to entrepreneurship. However, a key contention in the literature is the relative value to entrepreneurs of strong ties to family, close friends, and business colleagues versus weak ties to business acquaintances. Startup businesses often have family members as the first partners, employees, and customers. Despite the benefits of family ties to entrepreneurship, there is reason to suspect that these relationships may also be a hindrance. This paper examines how the networking practices adopted by entrepreneurs differ in the context of family firms and how family involvement in a firm impacts innovation and firm performance. In doing so, this research contributes to the entrepreneurship literature by systematically examining the decision to pursue an entrepreneurial venture from a family network perspective.

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