Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship
JOURNAL ARTICLE | Organization Science | 23 | March 2012
Agency in Action: Entrepreneurs' Networking Style and Initiation of Economic Exchange
This multimethod study investigates the effects of entrepreneurs' interpersonal networking style on the initiation of interorganizational exchange ties.The author uses inductive theorizing to make a distinction between interpersonal networking actions aimed at adding new contacts (network-broadening actions) versus managing existing contacts (network-deepening actions). The author reasons that because networking actions alter the cost-benefit calculus of using referrals, the extent to which entrepreneurs rely on referrals when searching for new exchange partners should vary with their networking actions.The author then proposes that entrepreneurs are likely to add fewer new exchange partners when they rely more on referrals to search. The empirical analysis employs a longitudinal design using data coded from the business cards of new contacts formed over a two-month period by a panel of Indian entrepreneurs operating business-to-business ventures.This study makes a theoretical contribution by identifying decision makers' networking style as a distinct mechanism shaping partner selection for their organization.Specifically, the study shows entrepreneurs using more network-deepening actions initiate fewer new economic exchanges, due (in part) to their increased reliance on referral-based search, whereas entrepreneurs using more network-broadening actions initiate more new economic exchanges due (in part) to their decreased reliance on referral-based search.