Entrepreneurial ecosystems and networks: a literature review and research agenda

Abstract

Entrepreneurial ecosystems have recently emerged as a central topic on the agenda of both researchers and political leaders. As a consequence of the multiple studies published in recent times, this promising avenue of research is currently disjointed, lacking both a systematic structure and a theoretical framework. Intrinsic to entrepreneurial ecosystems, the networks established among the diverse stakeholders impact on the configuration, the evolution and the outcomes of entrepreneurial ecosystems. This study systematically analyzes 65 conceptual and empirical articles identified in the Web of Science database to explore, analyze and discussing the main trends in the literature on the topic of entrepreneurial ecosystems and networks (EEs&Ns). The analysis of bibliographic coupling of documents made possible to group the EEs&Ns literature into four clusters: (1) Context and Cooperation; (2) Established Networks; (3) Challenges to the Affirmation of Minorities; (4) Formal Structures. In turn, the analysis of keywords co-occurrence revealed the most important literature trends on this topic: (1) innovation and dynamics: actors and norms; (2) performance, knowledge, and entrepreneurship; (3) technology and firms. The systematization of these results allowed us to identify the institutional/contextual dimension, the relational dimension, and the organizational/structural dimension as the main approaches followed by the researchers on this topic. The conceptual framework advanced attests to the interdependencies among the research paths found on EEs&Ns. Finally, following the systematic literature review undertaken, we identify the promising paths and proposals for future research that may advance still further the academic understanding of EEs&Ns.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank to NECE – Research Unit in Business Sciences funded by the Multiannual Funding Programme of R&D Centres of FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, under the Project (UID/GES/04630/2019).

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Fernandes, A.J., Ferreira, J.J. Entrepreneurial ecosystems and networks: a literature review and research agenda. Rev Manag Sci (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11846-020-00437-6

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Keywords

  • Entrepreneurial ecosystems
  • Networks
  • Systematic literature review
  • Bibliometrics

JEL Classification

  • L26
  • M13
  • M2
  • R58