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Understanding Small Business Networking and ICTs: Exploring Face-to-Face and ICT-related opportunity creation mediated by Social Capital in East of England Micro-businesses

Ellis, Rebecca (2010) Understanding Small Business Networking and ICTs: Exploring Face-to-Face and ICT-related opportunity creation mediated by Social Capital in East of England Micro-businesses. Working Paper. Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation (CRESI) Working Paper 2010-01, University of Essex, Colchester, UK.

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Abstract

Small businesses that are sole traders or micro-businesses—with few, if any employees notoriously suffer from a ‘liability of smallness’ (Aldrich and Auster 1986), including poor access to various resources. However, many authors argue that the inherent problems of smallness can be overcome with networking and good network connections. Resources, the opportunities to access them and other benefits apparent from networks and networking are readily apparent in the literature. However, few articles, if any, have examined small business networking from the perspective of this study—using in-depth qualitative methods, the theoretical construct of social capital and exploring the increasing role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in networks and networking—as part of understanding a variety of entrepreneurial opportunities. This article provides much needed empirical insights on how and if ICTs support opportunity creation amongst small businesses within a spatial and social network perspective. Its ‘media ecology’ approach does not over-prioritise the role of ICTs, but instead examines their interrelationships with face-to-face contact—putting technology in its ‘place’. The article focuses on the notion of ‘opportunity creation’ from networks, since this is the outcome critical for the small businesses themselves in order to generate economic benefits for their business. It seeks to provide a higher level, outcomebased framework that helps specify the various sorts of opportunities created by networks for small businesses, based on original ethnographic material and findings from a case study of East of England micro-businesses.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: networks; social capital; ICTs; small businesses; opportunity creation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of > Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2012 12:38
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2012 15:02
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/2297

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