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Network Opportunity Emergence and Identification


ISBN: 978-1-78635-915-5, eISBN: 978-1-78635-914-8

ISSN: 0733-558X

Publication date: 24 March 2017


In this article, I propose a theory of network opportunity emergence. The core of the argument is that as an overall industry network structure becomes centralized, opportunities emerge for new entrants. As the institutional environment evolves toward a centralized network flow structure, innovators can identify newly emerged rich resource niches that serve as the perfect breeding ground for an entrepreneurial start-up. While the framework is an aggregate level conceptualization of market opportunities, it also identifies specific actionable opportunities at a very micro level. Examples from the networks of the airline industry illustrate the logic. I conclude by discussing the innovation and entrepreneurship implications for a wide variety of industries and network tie types, calling for utilization of the framework to answer a broad variety of research questions.




I am grateful to Lyda Bigelow, Ron Burt, Glenn Carroll, Lisa Cohen, Bill Foster, John Freeman, Michael Gerlach, Henrich Greve, Mike Hout, Charles O’Reilly, Trond Petersen, Ishak Saporta, Roy Suddaby, Anand Swaminathan, and Albert Teo for comments and discussions on various aspects of this work. The work benefitted from discussion at the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada Meetings, the Management Theory Conference, as well as with seminar attendees at Berkeley, Chicago, Madison, Michigan, Stanford, and UT Austin. All remaining errors are my own.


Seidel, M.-D.L. (2017), "Network Opportunity Emergence and Identification", Emergence (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 50), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 141-168.



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