Traditionally, entrepreneurs have been considered as individuals with a strong, often charismatic, leadership as well as a high drive for individualism and independence. However, a business unit does not exist in isolation since it is, or will be, in contact with a whole range of other organisations. Porter and Ketels' (2003, p45) study of British competitiveness noticed business networking often plays a particularly important role in the diffusion of new management best practice and innovation. This is particularly relevant for entrepreneurial start-ups if we consider Schumpeter's analysis that the entrepreneur leads the way in creating new industries. Thus, entrepreneurs are bound to cooperate at most during the creation of their company, which is a critical step for businesses survival, as the initial resources on which they can rely on are limited. A means to overcome this is the credibility these businesses can get from their network. However, there are no studies on credibility in the fields of entrepreneurship, as research has been linked only with marketing and organisational behaviour (Ali & Birley, 1998, p750).
Sociological studies have suggested that credibility is made up of meriting trust or confidence, as well as being able to persuade as a person or message source, which is generally associated with prestige. This has an impact on a network that consists of single nodes (actors) and connections between these nodes (dyads), (Walker 1988, p228). Firstly, this paper reviews the existing literature on the credibility of the entrepreneur. Secondly, the problem encountered while entering the network will be discussed. Finally, the essay will analyse the structure of networks related to the services provided by partners and to start-up success. The paper critically examines empirical studies on the subject, in order to highlight the features and weaknesses which could possibly be the object of further research.
[...] That can become an advantage since the small size of new start-ups is often a barrier to reach some services and inputs, like for example advertising, training, access to loan or finance at advantageous rates, consultancy, advice, financial services. Those items cannot be easily affordable for entrepreneurial businesses. The main advantage of networking is that it surmounts weaknesses by allowing entrepreneurs to get resources cheaper than they could be obtained on markets, and to secure resources that would not be available on markets at all, like reputation or customer contacts. [...]
[...] Yet, the notion of credibility is more complex and can be regarded as divided into two parts: perceived trustworthiness and competence. The first component, trust, can be a solution to the threat of risk and uncertainty within any business relationship. When trust and co-operation are safe and secured, the potential risk to the company is minimised whilst the partners are able to establish their reputation for honesty and consistency (Thompson 1993, p59). Contracting might also be a way of reducing hazards, though as Macaulay in Carter and Jones-Evans (2000, p 118) noted, detailed written clauses have their limitations since many of them engage non-legal sanctions. [...]
[...] (2000) ‘Enterprise and Small Business', Prenctice Hall, chapters 7 and 21. Cooper, A. C., Folta, T. and Woo, C. Y ‘Information acquisition and performance by start-up firms', in Churchill, N. C., Bygrave, W. D., Covin, J. G., Sexton, D. L., Slevin, D. P., Vesper, K. H. and Wetzel, W. E. Jr. ‘Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research' (Wellesley, MA: Babson College) pp. 276–290. Doss, E. (2004), Interviewed for the tutorial ‘Entrepreneurs that I know', ENTR207,week 7. Drakopoulou Dodd, S., Jack, S. and Anderson, A. [...]
[...] Willingness is not only a vital asset for the survival of the new company but it also makes the entrepreneur become an important actor of the network, and leads him to success. The advantages of the Entrepreneurs' network Different studies have been taken to verify the success of start-ups linked to networking, measuring principally the intention to growth and the profitability. Aldrich, Rosen and Woodward (1987) conducted one of the first empirical studies that examined the effect of entrepreneurial networking activities on the success of start-ups in North Carolina (United States). [...]
[...] Of course, the more networking activities an entrepreneur engages in, the larger his or her personal network (extensiveness), the more he or she is linked to other members (intensity) at a preferably high frequency (activity level) and the more central his or her position in the network should be (centrality and reachability). These three entities of networks should be regarded together since it has been found more productive to think in terms of the organisation in a wider sense as being a network of relationships (Wickham 1998, p86). [...]
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