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Social entrepreneurs as network orchestrators: how and why do social entrepreneurs build up and leverage social networks to perform?

Busch, Christian (2013) Social entrepreneurs as network orchestrators: how and why do social entrepreneurs build up and leverage social networks to perform? PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Over the last decades, extensive research about the role of networks in venture creation and development in both the sociology- (e.g.,Burt, 2005; Chiesi, 2007) and management- literature (e.g., Hoang & Antoncic, 2003; Maurer & Ebers, 2006) has been produced. However, while social networks have been recognized as crucial elements for the growth of social ventures (e.g., Bradach, 2010; Waitzer & Paul, 2011), there has been identified a lack of theory-motivated papers on how and why the different dimensions and configurations of social networks influence (social) venture performance over time (Aldrich & Kim,2007; Dacin et al., 2010). Filling this gap, this thesis focuses on the dynamic networking patterns of social ventures over the organizational lifecycle. It consists of three major parts: one conceptual paper, and two empirical papers. Drawing from networks-, social capital-, and organizational ecology-approaches (e.g., Hannan & Freeman, 1989; Kim et al., 2006), in the conceptual paper I develop a four-stage typology of network development, contending that selective boundary-spanning can lead to better performance outcomes if aligned with time-contingencies. The second paper, a comparative case study of six social ventures operating in Kenya’s low income context (a setting neglected by management research), uses a qualitative approach to examine how these ventures orchestrated networks. Via the comparison of success-, failure-, and turnaround- cases, I find four core ‘stages’, and identify key characteristics of the respective networks, as well as conditions and mechanisms that help the transition from stage to stage. Having established the importance of social capital and its relation with organizational outcomes, the third paper focuses on the antecedents of social capital. A longitudinal case study in the South African low-income context shows that approaches such as bricolage can be effective in enfranchising the previously disenfranchised on a broader scale.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2013 Christian Busch
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Sets: Departments > Management
Supervisor: Barkema, Harry

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