Call for Papers for a session on „Social Capital in Entrepreneurial Networks”

at the XXXIII. Sunbelt Conference, May 21-26, 2013 in Hamburg, Germany

Session organizers:
Olaf Rank, University of Freiburg, Germany,
Anja Tuschke, University of Munich, Germany,

Even though the embeddedness of entrepreneurial firms in interorganizational networks has attracted increasing attention within the last decade, the fields of social network analysis and entrepreneurship have remained surprisingly separate in many respects. While several studies have shown that occupying favorable positions in the network  may enhance corporate performance, less is known about the processes leading entrepreneurial firms to obtain specific positions in the network. Building on the resource-based view, a growing body of research has suggested that external networks may be considered as a valuable resource (Lee et al., 2001; Simsek et al., 2003; Stam & Elfring, 2008) being unique to each company, largely invisible, and difficult to imitate for competitors (Galaskiewicz & Zaheer, 1999) thereby potentially leading to the development of competitive advantages. In other words, a company’s attitude towards entrepreneurship is considered to be an antecedent to its position within the network which in turn has consequences for its performance. However, it is still largely unclear how the relationship between network embeddedness and performance is influenced by contingencies such as industry dynamics and environmental complexity and how different aspects of entrepreneurship may lead to the occupation of different types of positions within the network.

We invite abstracts for 20 minutes oral presentations on research at the interface of social network analysis and entrepreneurship. Questions to be addressed may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • How do different forms of social capital (i.e., brokerage versus network closure) in entrepreneurial networks influence corporate performance of small and medium-sized firms (SMEs)?
  • What are the drivers that lead companies to occupy a brokerage position in the network and what are circumstances leading companies to create and maintain closed network structures?
  • To what extent does network embeddedness mediate the relationship between entrepreneurship and corporate performance?
  • May companies simultaneously maintain different positions at different levels of relational networks (formal networks such as strategic alliances at the interorganizational level versus informal networks of the interorganizational exchange of advice at the interpersonal level)? In other words, to what extent can social capital be perceived as a multilevel construct?

Submissions will be closing on December 31 at 11:59:59 EST. Please limit your abstract to 250 words.
In order to submit an abstract please proceed to the abstract submission:
When submitting your abstract, please select “Social Capital in Entrepreneurial Networks” as session title in the drop down box on the submission site. To be extra sure lease put a not in the “additional notes” box on the abstract submission form stating Olaf Rank as the session organizer.
For further information on the venue and conference registration please visit

Galaskiewicz, J. & Zaheer, A. (1999): Networks of competitive advantage, in: Bracharach, J.S. (ed.): Research in the sociology of organizations, 16: 237-261, Amsterdam: JAI Press.
Lee, C., Lee, K., & Pennings, J.M. (2001): Internal capabilities, external networks, and firm performance: A study on technology-based ventures, in: Strategic Management Journal 22(6/7): 615-640.
Simsek, Z., Lubatkin, M.H., & Floyd, S.W. (2003): Interorganizational networks and entrepreneurial behavior: A structural embeddedness perspective, in: Journal of Management, 29(3): 427-442.
Stam, W. & Elfring, T. (2008): Entrepreneurial orientation and new venture performance: The moderating role of intra- and extraindustry social capital, in: Academy of Management Journal, 51(1): 97-111.

Best regards,

Anja Tuschke and Olaf Rank

Prof. Dr. Olaf Rank
Betriebswirtschaftliches Seminar III
Lehrstuhl für Organisation und Personal
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Platz der Alten Synagoge (KG II)
79085 Freiburg

Tel. +49 (0)761 203-2389
+49 (0)761 203-2390 (Sekretariat)
Fax +49 (0)761 203-2394
Prof. Dr. Olaf Rank
Department of Business Administration
Chair for Organization and HRM
Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg
Platz der Alten Synagoge (KG II)
79085 Freiburg (Germany)

Phone: +49 (0) 761 203-2389
+49 (0) 761 203-2390 (administrative office)
Fax      +49 (0) 761 203-2394