Based on social influence theory (SIT) and social capital theory, this paper aims to explore the mediating role of entrepreneurial networks between technological entrepreneurs' political skills and entrepreneurial performance and whether market dynamics positively moderates this relationship.
This study collected data from 454 technological entrepreneurs in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Zhengzhou in China and examined four hypotheses by hierarchical regression analysis and bootstrapping analysis in an empirical design.
Results reveal that technological entrepreneurs' political skills not only have a direct positive impact on entrepreneurial performance (β = 0.544, t = 12.632, p < 0.001), but also have an indirect positive impact on entrepreneurial performance through entrepreneurial networks (β = 0.473, t = 10.636, p < 0.001). Entrepreneurial networks play a mediating role between entrepreneurs' political skills and entrepreneurial performance with 95% bias-corrected confidence intervals [0.034, 0.015]. Market dynamics plays a moderating role in the relationship among technological entrepreneurs' political skills, entrepreneurial networks and entrepreneurial performance (entrepreneurial performance: β = 0.190, t = 4.275, p < 0.001; entrepreneurial networks: β = 0.135, t = 4.455, p < 0.001). When market dynamics is high, technological entrepreneurs' political skills have a significant positive effect on entrepreneurial networks (simple slope = 0.309, t = 7.656, p < 0.001); but when market dynamics is low, there is no significant correlation between political skills and entrepreneurial networks (simple slope = 0.039, t = 0.966, p > 0.05).
The study relies on self-reported data from single informants. Although the severity of common method bias is tested through two methods, future research designs should avoid the influence of common method bias. Future research should adopt a vertical tracking design, collect data from multiple sources and use subjective assessment and objective indicators to measure variables. In addition, the applicability of the results outside China is worth further empirical exploration. Therefore, the authors hope that future studies can replicate the research to different countries, different cultural backgrounds and different organizational sections to explore the generalizability of the results.
The findings provide useful suggestions for entrepreneurs, who can use political skills to build a strong entrepreneurial network to improve their entrepreneurial performance. The results also suggest that entrepreneurs should pay more attention to cultivating and developing their political skills through methods such as training and practice. In addition, the conclusion is of great implications to enrich the content of entrepreneurship education and guide entrepreneurship practice.
These findings enrich SIT and social capital theory by providing the empirical evidence of the effect of entrepreneurs' political skills on entrepreneurial performance through entrepreneurial network. They also provide deeper insights into market dynamics research by uncovering the moderating role of market dynamics in the relationship between entrepreneurs' political skills, entrepreneurial networks and entrepreneurial performance.
The authors wish to thank the National Social Science Foundation of China (No. 21AZD012). The authors also wish to acknowledge the valuable contributions of companies and individuals who participated in the interviews and surveys.
Zhang, X., Zhou, X., Wang, Q., Zhang, H. and Ju, W. (2022), "Networks open the door to the success of technological entrepreneurship: a perspective on political skills", Kybernetes, Vol. 51 No. 12, pp. 3487-3507. https://doi.org/10.1108/K-01-2021-0050
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