Journal article

Entrepreneurial advice sources and their antecedents Venture stage, innovativeness and internationalization

Purpose - Entrepreneurs interact with others and, through this, benefit from access to knowledge, resources and skills that enhance their own entrepreneurial and organizational capabilities. This paper aims to contribute to the literature interested in identifying and analyzing important antecedents of entrepreneurs' choices regarding social relations. The study shows how the venture stage, innovativeness and internationalization of the firm potentially influence entrepreneurial choices regarding their social sources of advice. Design/methodology/approach - The analysis is based on cross-sectional survey data for the years 2009 and 2010, involving 13 Middle East and North African (MENA) countries. Respondents include future prospective entrepreneurs, start-ups and owner-managers of operating businesses, a total of 13,251 respondents across all countries for the entire period. Findings - Entrepreneurs with innovative ventures draw more on advice sources that are able to give information useful for the commercialization of innovative products, and entrepreneurs of internationally exposed ventures rely on a broad base of advice sources that can connect them with a foreign market. However, the outcomes regarding the impact of "different venture stages" point to social interaction patterns that are strongly influenced by local culture and that do not support the assumption of universal entrepreneurship behavior. This study shows that social interactions decline in quantity the more as the venture progresses in age. However, the type of social interaction (e.g. private or professional sources) that entrepreneurs engage throughout the different venture stages remains essentially the same and does not change across different entrepreneurial phases. In the MENA sample, private relations remain the most important source of advice throughout all phases, and they are not replaced by other contacts. Research limitations/implications - Limitations of this paper refer to the use of a large-scale database that cannot address certain issues without more direct observation, such as the quality of different social relations. Future research could address this issue by offering more fine-grained items for the different advice sources. Originality/value - The paper contributes to the debate on whether entrepreneurship is universal in nature. It focuses on data from emerging and developing countries in the Arab world, which is has not been studied very much in the entrepreneurship literature.


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