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Article
Publication date: 15 January 2018

Susanne Gretzinger, Simon Fietze, Alexander Brem and Tochukwu (Toby) Ugonna Ogbonna

Networking and being a part of an established business network supports the process of translating new ideas into marketable solutions and acquiring customers. The purpose…

Abstract

Purpose

Networking and being a part of an established business network supports the process of translating new ideas into marketable solutions and acquiring customers. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how aspiring entrepreneurs in a Danish rural area setting manage to get embedded into relevant business networks. Before the literature background on social capital and regional development, the authors use the embeddedness approach in explaining whether weak or strong ties are most beneficial to get the business started and how lacking strong ties can be compensated.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper takes an economic sociology perspective on social capital and is empirically based on a case study. The sample consists of a group of young aspiring entrepreneurs, living in the rural area of Southern Jutland, who are all committed to an organization which supports regional start-ups.

Findings

The authors found that aspiring entrepreneurs have different needs depending on their development status and type of innovation. Founders, who are developing or have developed new product innovations, seem to have an increased need for “strong ties” with consultants and those with knowledge about building up a professional network. Founders, who are developing or have developed a significantly improved service, have strong ties with former fellow students and researchers at the university.

Originality/value

This study illustrates that aspiring entrepreneurs connected to a regional entrepreneurship center gained access to a wider relevant network. Depending on their level of embeddedness, they could build new strong relationships and exploit information stemming from new “weak ties” and as such harness more benefits. The study shows that less privileged start-ups can substitute strong ties, especially through the support of professional managers of startup-supporting organizations. Finally, a model explaining the impact of social capital on the entrepreneurial sphere of regional business networks and on its innovativeness is deduced.

Details

Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1059-5422

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 17 July 2020

Birgit Leick and Susanne Gretzinger

Research on business networks in organisationally thin regions, which are characterised by a low density and quality of business networks, is still in its infancy, while…

Abstract

Purpose

Research on business networks in organisationally thin regions, which are characterised by a low density and quality of business networks, is still in its infancy, while the facilitation of business networks receives increasing interest. The present paper combines both perspectives by investigating how different types of network brokers facilitate business networking and knowledge-sharing in organisationally thin regions.

Design/methodology/approach

Burt's theory on brokers in social networks is applied to knowledge-sharing in business networks for organisational thinness as context. A qualitative case study represents the empirical basis that describes network brokers from various domains in three different German case regions, which are characterised by organisational thinness.

Findings

The network brokers studied facilitate different types of business networks, and they use various levers to increase knowledge-sharing among companies in business networks. Two broker types emerge, private business-driven versus public policy-driven network brokers with distinct approaches to the facilitation of business networking and knowledge-sharing and different limitations due to organisational thinness.

Practical implications

Companies, notably SMEs, in contexts characterised by low networking density and quality may benefit from various types of network brokers that foster business networking and instigate knowledge exchange. Public policy should embed activities of private brokers in existing SME assistance programmes to increase the quantity and quality of business networks.

Originality/value

Network facilitation in regions with weaknesses in their endowment with industry clusters, business networks and innovative knowledge exchange is under-explored, and this paper contributes to shedding light on this topic with a case study.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 27 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 December 2020

Susanne Gretzinger, Anna Marie Dyhr Ulrich, Svend Hollensen and Birgit Leick

This paper aims to discuss business incubation to enter foreign markets in Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) countries through the lens of an “international business…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to discuss business incubation to enter foreign markets in Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) countries through the lens of an “international business incubator” (IBI). International market expansion offers huge opportunities for companies to increase their revenue, but there are also challenging tasks such as the establishment of a business company and the occupation of a strategic position abroad. Practitioners consider this process as the act of incubation, but the theoretical discussion lags behind the practice-led debate.

Design/methodology/approach

An illustrative, and theory-led, case study is presented that describes market expansion to BRIC countries through a network-based IBI. The empirical case is an illustrative Danish company with international operations in BRIC countries both with and without an IBI.

Findings

International business incubation represents a process, which can be influenced through an IBI, and business networking during foreign market entry is shaped by IBI brokerage (bridging, bonding and protecting) in different phases. IBI activities that are embedded in business networking support a company’s endeavours in getting a foothold and acquiring a strategic position in BRIC markets and facilitates the market penetration.

Research limitations/implications

The IBI’s activities to enter foreign markets should be thoroughly managed. Further studies should be conducted with cross-case comparisons and larger samples to reflect on the propositions established.

Originality/value

By linking the business networking theory with the practice-led understanding of business incubation, the study explores an under-conceptualised topic for international business and entrepreneurship scholars. The paper offers an initial understanding of how brokerage interacts with incubation during the entry of new markets.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 16 October 2017

Susanne Gretzinger and Birgit Leick

Social capital plays an important role in transforming knowledge within and across inter-firm business networks in industries. The purpose of this paper is to explore…

Abstract

Purpose

Social capital plays an important role in transforming knowledge within and across inter-firm business networks in industries. The purpose of this paper is to explore different kinds of transfer mechanism such as “bonding,” “bridging,” and “protecting” within a case network of the Danish offshore windmill industry. Its aim is to describe how these mechanisms interactively support value co-creation among the involved enterprises and how social capital, residing in the relationships between actors from the firms, is influenced by the different transfer mechanisms.

Design/methodology/approach

Based upon a single case study, the paper demonstrates “bonding,” “bridging,” and “protecting” as distinct, yet related, mechanisms for inter-firm business networking. The sample used covers selected key actors from the network as well as third-party experts from the Danish windmill industry, which together represent the most important knowledge-offering and knowledge-demanding domains.

Findings

Activities associated with “bridging” and “bonding” clearly matter for creating value for the business network and the industry alike, as they are supportive of strategic capability development (for instance, high-skilled work). While producers and supply companies apply such “bridging,” “bonding,” and additional “protecting” mechanisms based upon their predominant position, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), however, need to shape teams to do so. A major finding of the study is, thus, that team-based interrelationships among SMEs activate “bridging,” “bonding.” and “protecting” initiatives which are particularly supportive of capability improvement and industry growth. They enable the transfer of relevant capabilities between different projects where actors within SMEs organizations learn to activate and use such knowledge transfer mechanisms. Moreover, asymmetrical dependency-relationships can be partly overcome by shaping and using the mechanisms on the part of SMEs in the network.

Originality/value

To date, brokerage is still an under-explored topic with regard to inter-firm business networks. This case study contributes to the research by illustrating important and distinct qualitative aspects of brokerage, which are conceptualized as “bonding,” “bridging,” and “protecting” initiatives on the part of brokers. The study highlights that not only strong actors with central positions can step into the role as a broker. Even less resourceful actors within asymmetrical relations can act as broker and compensate a lack of resources or strengthen their position within the industry network. Consequently, value co-creating processes within industry networks can also be boosted by brokerage initiated by small companies.

Details

IMP Journal, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-1403

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 15 January 2018

João J. Ferreira and Vanessa Ratten

Abstract

Details

Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1059-5422

Content available
Article
Publication date: 16 October 2017

Ivan Snehota, Antonella La Rocca and Alexandra Waluszewski

Abstract

Details

IMP Journal, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-1403

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