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Entrepreneurial networks across the business life cycle: the case of Alpine hospitality entrepreneurs

Andreas Strobl (Department of Strategic Management, Marketing and Tourism, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria)
Christopher Kronenberg (Department of Business and Design, New Design University, St. Pölten, Austria)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 13 June 2016




This paper aims to deliver a detailed understanding about the dynamics of entrepreneurial networks along the enterprise life cycle of hospitality enterprises.


Case study research was conducted, using in-depth interviews with hospitality entrepreneurs and additional material (e.g. website information). The data were analyzed applying the qualitative method GABEK (GAnzheitliche BEwältigung von Komplexität – holistic processing of complexity) which enables researchers to reveal concepts and attitudes of interviewees.


Networks of hospitality entrepreneurs shift from local ties to industry-specific actor groups to local and non-local ties to actor groups inside and outside the industry. Throughout the enterprise life cycle, entrepreneurs prefer strong ties. The transition from one family generation to the next and changes in the competitive environment are important triggers of network configurations.

Research limitations/implications

Future research should reproduce the findings and investigate the proposed relationships in representative samples from different regions and industries. The influences of different actors within networks provide fertile research opportunities.

Practical implications

Networks provide viable means for tackling the challenges of growth in the hospitality industry. The research provides managerial implications for how networks should be configured for meeting resource dependencies of different development stages.


Building on resource dependency theory, this research emphasizes which challenges the enterprise life cycle imposes upon network management in the hospitality industry. While past research has focused upon the early stages of the enterprise life cycle, this study investigates also later stages. Furthermore, triggers of network management are identified.



The authors would like to thank editor Prof Fevzi Okumus and the anonymous reviewers for their effort and guidance which helped us to enhance our research.


Strobl, A. and Kronenberg, C. (2016), "Entrepreneurial networks across the business life cycle: the case of Alpine hospitality entrepreneurs", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 28 No. 6, pp. 1177-1203.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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