Abstract

A phenomenon in recent years reveals that entrepreneurs are increasingly creating a new form of social ties enabled through social media, attracting a community of strangers with whom the entrepreneurs would share personal aspirations, opinions, problems as well as solutions about their new ventures. This presents a new process of entrepreneurial resource acquisition, which has not been examined by entrepreneurship scholars (Fischer & Reuber, 2011). To address the gap, we investigate the factors that drive entrepreneurs to engage in online networking activities and the circumstances under which the entrepreneurs will benefit from such ties with strangers. We propose that entrepreneurs in online communities form a new type of “hybrid ties”, through which the participants obtain both fine-grained and novel information. Using affective events theory and discourse experience theory, we build a framework to explain the experiential factors which create and maintain hybrid ties, and how cognitive and emotional factors can facilitate the entrepreneurs’ acquisition of information.

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