THE CHANGING IMPORTANCE OF THE STRENGTH OF TIES THROUGHOUT THE ENTREPRENEURIAL PROCESS
MAJBRITT ROSTGAARD EVALD
SUSANNE GREN SVENDSEN
In this paper we review selected papers on entrepreneurship dealing with Granovetter's concept of strong and weak ties in order to systematically organize the articles according to the researchers' estimate of what ties are most important.The aim is to find out what the existing research applying the entrepreneurship network approach says about the changing importance of strong and weak ties in different phases of the entrepreneurial process. Thus we investigate how different types of strong and weak ties change in importance according to, which phases of the entrepreneurial process the entrepreneurial act takes place within. Based on these findings, we develop a conceptual framework showing that strong ties, like family, friends and close business contacts, seem to play an important role in the emergence phase. Whereas in the phase of the newly established firm, a mix of strong and weak ties, including new and former business contacts as well as family and friends, seems to play an important role. Furthermore, in the phase of the mature firm a mix of strong and weak ties seem to play the most important role, although the composition of what constitutes this mix is different from the former phase. In the last phase, the mix of strong and weak ties includes special and close business contacts and one-shot deal business contacts. Accordingly, we have identified the changing importance of the strength of ties throughout the entrepreneurial process.
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