The European Journal of Development Research

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 1449–1469 | Cite as

Embeddedness or Over-Embeddedness? Women Entrepreneurs’ Networks and Their Influence on Business Performance

  • Lavlu MozumdarEmail author
  • Geoffrey Hagelaar
  • Valentina C. Materia
  • S. W. F. Omta
  • Mohammad Amirul Islam
  • Gerben van der Velde
Original Article


We analyse in what ways network embeddedness may influence the business performance of women entrepreneurs working in a socially constrained context. Data were collected through a survey sent to 292 women entrepreneurs engaged in handicraft businesses in Bangladesh. Results from multiple regression models show that, next to entrepreneurial orientation, financial capital and business experience, a small network is positively related, while medium-sized and large networks are negatively related, to performance. In-depth analysis reveals that a small bonding ties network is positively, while a medium-sized bonding ties network is negatively, and a large bonding ties network is not, statistically related to performance. Based on this, we assume that the networks of many women entrepreneurs may be over-embedded, because of too extensive connections with family and friends. Apparently, the over-embeddedness proposition of Uzzi (Am Sociol Rev 61:674–698, 1996) proves to be valid for women entrepreneurs operating under socially constrained circumstances in a developing country.


Network (over-)embeddedness Business performance Women entrepreneurs Socially constrained context 


Nous analysons de quelle manière l’encastrement dans un réseau social peut influer sur les performances commerciales des femmes entrepreneures travaillant dans un contexte de contrainte sociale. Les données sont collectées dans le cadre d’une enquête envoyée à 292 femmes entrepreneures engagées dans l’artisanat au Bangladesh. Les résultats issus de modèles de régression multiple montrent que, outre l’orientation entrepreneuriale, le capital financier, et l’expérience professionnelle, disposer d’un petit réseau est positivement lié à la performance commerciale, alors que les réseaux de taille moyenne et grande sont négativement liés à la performance. Une analyse approfondie révèle qu’un réseau de liaisons de petite taille est positivement relié à la performance, alors qu’un réseau de liaisons de taille moyenne y est inversement relié, et qu’un grand réseau de liaisons n’est pas statistiquement lié à la performance. Sur cette base, nous supposons que les réseaux de nombreuses femmes entrepreneures pourraient être trop encastrés, en raison de liens trop étroits avec la famille et les amis. Il semblerait que la proposition de sur-encastrement d’Uzzi (Am Sociol Rev 61:674–698, 1996) s’avère valable pour les femmes entrepreneures travaillant en situation de contrainte sociale dans un pays en développement.



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© European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lavlu Mozumdar
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Geoffrey Hagelaar
    • 2
  • Valentina C. Materia
    • 2
  • S. W. F. Omta
    • 2
  • Mohammad Amirul Islam
    • 3
  • Gerben van der Velde
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Rural SociologyBangladesh Agricultural UniversityMymensinghBangladesh
  2. 2.Business Management and OrganizationWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Agricultural StatisticsBangladesh Agricultural UniversityMymensinghBangladesh

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