Since Hoang and Antoncic (2003), network based research in entrepreneurship continues to develop and grow. To chart these developments, we discuss core relational (network content, governance) and structural constructs. We identify recent work that has introduced nodal and contextual constructs: the former capture attributes that inhere in the entrepreneur or venture to explain regularities in the patterns of network change. Contextual constructs reflect higher level characteristics of the environment that influence lower level processes. The resulting theoretical models upon which empirical studies build reflect how the field as whole has become more rich and complex. Broadly, studies continue to either examine how networks develop over time or the consequences of networks for entrepreneurial outcomes. With more studies examining how network ties are initiated, evolve or are culled, our review of work published in the past decade finds that there is now a greater balance across these two streams. The process-oriented studies inform how entrepreneurial networks arise that may in turn lead to successful milestone achievement including financing and venture growth. We conclude by proposing future areas of research that include exploring the malleability of networking competencies, reviving dormant ties, examining the role of team level network constructs in venture performance, and greater incorporation of contextual factors. We also encourage research designs that employ multiple methods in order to better capture the wide range of constructs being incorporated into current theoretical models of networks.
Network-based Research in Entrepreneurship: A Decade in Review summarizes the empirical and theoretical articles employing diverse methods that have been published since 2003 in the burgeoning research domain focused on understanding the content, governance, and structure of network relations in the entrepreneurial context. There is a need to characterize the research conducted in the past decade in order to highlight cumulative or divergent findings, and to identify areas where further research is needed. Reflecting the various definitions of entrepreneurship that exist in the field, the authors have included papers in their review that focus on the development and consequences of networks in the new venture creation process or focus on small to medium-sized firms. Within the latter group, there has been a focus on high growth firms but recently a network perspective has also been applied to the study of family firms. While the scope of the field is broad, it is consistent with that of the Entrepreneurship Division of the Academy of Management and its selection of representative journals.
Network-based Research in Entrepreneurship: A Decade in Review includes papers that have sought to address challenging questions that engage researchers, and in the process have contributed novel concepts and theory development. In addition, other relevant papers that are integrated into this review build more explicitly on topics and issues central to economic sociology, organization theory, strategic management, and organizational behavior. By covering a broad spectrum of published work that has emerged in this and related areas over the past ten years, the authors seek to consolidate theoretical and empirical developments and identify areas of future research.