Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Agentic Networks and Entrepreneurial Opportunities: An Emerging Nonlocal Network Dynamics Perspective

DAVIS Jason P., HALLEN Benjamin L.
Read the working paper
INSEAD Working Paper 2016/03/EFE

While literature has long highlighted that entrepreneurs benefit from having the right network connections, literature on network development has traditionally emphasized “rich-get-richer” dynamics and the role of existing ties in forming new socially-proximate ties, a perspective we call structural localism. In contrast, an emerging literature has begun to explore how entrepreneurs purposefully form non-local ties and actively dissolve ties to better pursue novel opportunities. This research, which we label agentic network change (ANC), is still in its nascent stages and we seek to address some of its current limitations. First, we describe ANC’s role in capturing entrepreneurial opportunities. Unpacking its influence on a range of entrepreneurial outcomes (e.g., resource acquisition, business model innovation, etc.), we argue that ANC plays a strong and direct role in the execution of entrepreneurial opportunities, but has a weak and lagged influence on opportunity discovery. Second, whereas prior literature has identified a partially overlapping set of ANC behaviors whose relatedness has been unclear, we develop its theoretical foundations to argue that ANC behaviors all operate through three mediating mechanisms grounded in bounded rationality and resource dependence theories. We draw our arguments together in an integrative framework and sketch an agenda for future ANC research.