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Exploring entrepreneurs' social network ties: Quantity versus quality

Jeffrey M. Pollack, Matthew W. Rutherford, Anson Seers, Anthony E. Coy and Sheila Hanson

Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 2016, vol. 6, issue C, 28-35

Abstract: We applied a new approach to the study of entrepreneurial networking groups—a social network perspective merged with team-member exchange (TMX) theory. This enabled us to take a unique look at how the quantity and the quality of entrepreneurs’ social network ties impact networking performance. Entrepreneurs (N=302) in formal networking groups provided data about the quantity of their social ties (i.e., weekly interactions with group members), the quality of those relationships (i.e., team-member exchange), the actual number of members to whom they gave referrals, as well as from whom they received referrals. Our novel approach revealed a direct relationship between tie quantity and the two networking performance outcomes, while we observed no direct relationship between tie quality and the same outcomes. However, affective organizational commitment mediates this latter relationship between tie quality and networking performance. And, interestingly, we find that it is the quality of ties that more strongly predicts the mediator of affective commitment, not the quantity of ties. We discuss the theory-based as well as practical implications of our work and describe areas for future research based on these findings.

Keywords: Entrepreneurial networking; Psychology; Social ties; Team-member exchange; Referrals; Affective commitment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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