Date of Award

Summer 7-24-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Executive Doctorate in Business (EDB)

Department

Business

First Advisor

Mark Keil

Second Advisor

Lars Mathiassen

Third Advisor

Benjamin M. Oviatt

Abstract

Underpinning economic growth is the emergence of entrepreneurial ventures with the potential to grow that boost job creation and provide new sources of products for mature companies. The critical role associated with new firms, underscores the importance of understanding how entrepreneurship unfolds. Network-based research, while leading the way to rich empirical studies provides a limited understanding of how entrepreneurial networks are built and their impact on the emergence of a new venture. Employing a multiple case study design and a perspective based on organizational path building, three young technology ventures were investigated in terms of the formation of networks around five key entrepreneurial activities defined by entrepreneurs. Rich insight into new venture emergence is presented in terms of the reciprocal relationship between specific activities enacted by entrepreneurs and the networks that form to execute those activities revealing the path building mechanisms that evolve to drive network development. The findings of this research not only contribute to theories of new venture emergence, but also offer an interesting opportunity for future research into factors that may influence the outcome of entrepreneurial ventures and provide practical insight for organizations seeking to sustain or develop an entrepreneurial path.

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