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The role of social capital in French entrepreneurial networks at the pre-organisation stage

By Rita Klapper

Abstract

This thesis contributes to the extant literature on entrepreneurial networks and social capital through its investigation of the role of social capital in French entrepreneurial networks at the pre-organisation stage. The target of the research are former Grande Ecole graduates, Anciens, who have created their own company. This study adds to the extant literature through its three-dimensional focus on social capital: The structural dimension which investigates who are part of the entrepreneurial networks and at that stage they become influential; the relational side which explores the contributions each tie brings to the entrepreneurial venture and the cognitive dimension, which explains the values the entrepreneurs have, and how these are shared between the entrepreneur and those embedded in the network. A multi-method approach was adopted in line with the objectives of the study consisting of semi-structured interviews, participant observation\ud and repertory grids. In particular the latter is a tool that has to date been underexploited in entrepreneurial network and social capital research.\ud \ud There are a number of significant contributions this research makes to the extant literature on entrepreneurial networks and social capital, one of which is the\ud development of a phases' model for entrepreneurial network dynamics at the preorganisation stage. This study also adds to the existing knowledge by linking Bourdieu & Wacquant's (1992) definition of social capital and the concept of 'habitus' to the three dimensions of social capital. The three-dimensional investigation of social capital contributes to a unique understanding of the interrelatedness of the three dimensions of social capital. The research confirms the key role of Anciens as individuals with whom the entrepreneur shares an educational and a professional habitus, which arguably\ud creates the basis for a 'pensee unique' that impacts the way entrepreneurs create and manage their networks at the pre-organisation stage. The work concludes outlining the\ud implications of the findings for business support and education policies, suggesting a framework for the typical career path of a Grande Ecole entrepreneur

Publisher: Leeds University Business School
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:1259

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