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Entrepreneurial business network and dynamic relational capabilities: a case study approach

Alessandro Zardini (Department of Management, University of Verona, Verona, Italy)
Lamin B. Ceesay (School of Business and Management, University of Verona, Verona, Italy)
Cecilia Rossignoli (Department of Management, University of Verona, Verona, Italy)
Raj Mahto (Anderson School of Management, University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 2 February 2023

Issue publication date: 9 February 2023

390

Abstract

Purpose

To further extend the understanding of the aggregating functions of an entrepreneurial business network, this paper attempts to explore the antecedents enabling the organisation of diverse entrepreneurs to engage in a collaborative inter-firm business network project. This paper also elucidates the development of the relational capabilities and performance of entrepreneurial business networks.

Design/methodology/approach

An explorative, longitudinal case study design is employed to analyse an Italian agricultural business network, which comprised a group of local small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Using the network as the focus of analysis, the case study draws insights from key informants comprising the network management team and the entrepreneurs who make up the membership of the business network.

Findings

The results of the study provide critical factors for successful organisation of inter-firm engagement. Although these factors are not mutually exclusive, the results show that organising for inter-firm engagement in an entrepreneurial business network context positively influenced the network relational performance and entrepreneurs' innovation capabilities.

Originality/value

The paper extends current understanding of inter-organisational engagement and illuminates the antecedents enabling the development of network relational dynamics capabilities. The empirical results provide unusual insights into the aggregating roles of an entrepreneurial business network, giving practitioners practical insights into managing a successful inter-organisational collaborative project. Using the relevant theoretical frameworks, the study empirically tests the organisation solutions relevant to literature on inter-firm engagement in a business network context and addresses the organisation solutions' interrelationship and linkages to entrepreneurial network relational performance in terms of knowledge practice, information and resources sharing and innovation.

Keywords

Citation

Zardini, A., Ceesay, L.B., Rossignoli, C. and Mahto, R. (2023), "Entrepreneurial business network and dynamic relational capabilities: a case study approach", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 328-353. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-01-2022-0085

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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