This chapter contributes to the study of social capital in international business from a perspective of diaspora networks. Previously secure within the domains of academic fields of history and sociology, diaspora is now an essential concept across business disciplines influencing economic development policy. Diaspora networks are argued to be the first movers carrying a promise of robust entrepreneurial activity, potentially transferring unique skills and knowledge by way of formal and informal engagements with their ancestral lands. Stitching global value chains into the development structures of weaker economies, diaspora networks are hypothesized to be strengthening homeland's competitive advantage and macroeconomic resilience. With much enthusiasm for the strong potential of diaspora networks, this study calls for a realistic caution and against mechanistic interpretation of the phenomenon. Three key elements formulate a diaspora network operational sustainability requiring deeper reflection in the business literature: identity, trust, and engagement infrastructure. Such triangularity of diaspora networks is in parallel with the three dimensions of social capital: bonds, bridges, and linkages. Connecting with the literature and informed by a unique survey, this contribution also sketches an analytical framework for future research and meaningful policy approach.
The author is thankful to Arkady Gevorkyan and Sven Horak for feedback on the earlier drafts and Valentina Méndez Silva for excellent research support. The author is also grateful to Khachig Tölölyan for substantive exchange on the topic of diaspora.
Gevorkyan, A.V. (2022), "Diaspora Networks?", Horak, S. (Ed.) Informal Networks in International Business, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 55-73. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-83982-878-220221007
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