Entrepreneurship; Social networks ; New ventures; Start-ups; Resources; Agency
Literature has long highlighted that entrepreneurs benefit from having the right network connections.The authors observe, however, that although the large and growing literature on entrepreneur network evolution shares a common focus around the formation and dissolution of entrepreneurs’ interdependent, socially embedded relationships, this literature is fragmented and does not always use the explicit language of network theory. They conduct an integrative review to put forth a typology of five core drivers of entrepreneur network evolution. A core insight of the review is that most entrepreneurial network research emphasizes an overarching pattern that suggests substantial path-dependence, with new ties often being local to entrepreneurs’ existing network, hierarchical, and geographic positions. The authors label this perspective structural localism.By contrast, more recent, emerging research on entrepreneurial action in forming interorganizational relationships, much of which does not use the language of network theory (e.g., ties and networks), suggests a more dynamic and path-creating pattern. The authors label this perspective agentic network change. After explicating the distinct theoretical foundations and behavioral assumptions of each perspective, they sketch a research agenda for better balancing our understanding of the two and how they intertwine.