Original Research

Entrepreneurial networking differences: An ethnic in-group and out-group analysis

Boris Urban
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 37, No 1 | a826 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v37i1.826 | © 2011 Boris Urban | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 April 2009 | Published: 04 April 2011

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Boris Urban, Wits Business School, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa

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Orientation: Researching entrepreneurship using a network perspective is important, as social networks are assets for small business owners struggling to survive in competitive markets.

Research purpose: The research question of this study has focused on what we can learn about entrepreneurial networking, considering that there is an under-explored and unarticulated set of networking principles and practices which have not been previously analysed in terms of a multiethnic country context.

Motivation for the study: Often the lack of network use is reported as a feature of entrepreneurs, who have less opportunity to utilise formal social capital features. Social networks provided by extended family, community-based or organisational relationships are often theorised to supplement the effects of education, experience and financial capital.

Research design, approach and method: Based on hypothesised differences in networking ties, network assistance and support relationships, a survey was used to collect data on quantitative measures. Descriptive statistics were calculated and differential tests were conducted to test the hypotheses.

Main findings: Results indicate that entrepreneurial networking is largely independent on group composition. Generally at least some aspects of networking are generic and as a consequence, a more integrated view of networking can be adopted.

Practical/managerial implications: The practical value of the present study points to several areas of interest to entrepreneurs, policy makers and educators, through demonstrating the multifaceted nature of entrepreneurial networks for different groups and their explanatory potential in understanding networking.

Contribution/value-add: Despite the importance of entrepreneurial networking, little empirical or theoretical research has examined the dynamics of networking in a developing country context such as South Africa, which has lower than expected total entrepreneurship activity.


entrepreneurial networking; ethnic groups


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