An Explanation of Social Capital and Entrepreneurial Network Relationships

Jim Bowey, 2002

This thesis attempts to demonstrate the importance of social capital to entrepreneurs in their networks and network relationships.  Empirical data about different kinds of relationships of five successful entrepreneurs in Quebec, Canada were gathered over an eighteen-month period. The data reported here comprise five discrete cases from 47 relationships and nearly 200 episodes of relationship behaviour. The episodic cases were subjected to a rigorous, systematic analysis based on the ontology of critical realism.  The analysis employed an extension of the reliable Actors-Resources-Activities framework, which has been used extensively by the Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Group.

The study found that social capital is a viable concept by which to measure the nature of entrepreneurial network relationships. The investigation determined that changes in social capital were affected by several relationship driving forces and various contingent factors. An explanatory model was developed to illustrate how these particular relationship driving forces and contingent factors work as a mechanism for changes in social capital.