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Social capital and entrepreneurial process

Abstract

The paper examines the relationship between social capital and entrepreneurial engagement of individuals in 35 nations from Europe and Asia. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first empirical research that attempts to investigate the influence of three-dimensional social capital concept – trust, networks and norms – on three stages of entrepreneurial process – preference, trial and success – using such large and comprehensive cross-sectional micro data. In general, we find that all three dimensions of social capital matter in the entrepreneurship context, albeit differently. They become beneficial in different ways and at different stages of entrepreneurial involvement. For example, among trust variables, institutional trust in general, and trust in business-oriented and business-supporting actors in particular, exert significant positive effect on entrepreneurial process. Individuals with formal membership in professional associations are more likely to perceive entrepreneurial opportunities, while some close or strong-tie networks might prevent them from progressing in the entrepreneurship ladder. Finally, individual level civic norms appear to be negatively associated with early-stage entrepreneurship, while the success in becoming an entrepreneur is not found to be bound by people’s civic norms.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Although some studies such as Kwon and Arenius (2010), De Clercq et al. (2010), Stephan and Uhlaner (2010), Estrin et al. (2013) have looked at the social capital and entrepreneurship relationship in the cross-nation context, their construct of social capital is measured at country level and does not capture the role of individual social capital in entrepreneurship.

  2. 2.

    Liao and Welsch (2005) and Schenkel et al. (2009) were among a few researchers who attempted to operationalize the social capital construct in a broader context, including three measures: structural (networks); relational (trust); and cognitive (shared norms) social capital. However, they found no significant differences in three forms between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs.

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Acknowledgments

We acknowledge the support of the Economics Education and Research Consortium (EERC) in Ukraine for funding this research.

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Correspondence to Elvin Afandi.

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Afandi, E., Kermani, M. & Mammadov, F. Social capital and entrepreneurial process. Int Entrep Manag J 13, 685–716 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11365-016-0421-8

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Keywords

  • Entrepreneurial process
  • Social capital
  • Trust
  • Networks
  • Civic norms
  • Transition economies

JEL classifications

  • L26
  • D8
  • J24