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Entrepreneurship Research Journal

Ed. by Mishra, Chandra / Zachary, Ramona K.

4 Issues per year

Interaction and Purpose in Highly Entrepreneurial Communities

Michael W-P Fortunato1 / Diane K. McLaughlin2

1The Pennsylvania State University

2, The Pennsylvania State University

Citation Information: Entrepreneurship Research Journal. Volume 2, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2157-5665, DOI: 10.2202/2157-5665.1049, January 2012

Publication History

Published Online:
2012-01-03

In an attempt to understand more about community-level variation in entrepreneurship, this research article focuses on two possible sources of variation within the local society: the amount of interaction among entrepreneurs, and between entrepreneurs and local institutions; and the purposive nature of these interactions. Theories about social interaction, such as Granovetter’s (1973) theory of weak ties and Burt’s (1995) theory of structural holes, are used to understand how large, diverse networks may impact not only information exchange, but information and skills necessary for entrepreneurship. Also, Wilkinson’s (1991) interactional field theory is presented as a way to understand how not only network ties, but the content that flows over those ties in the form of a common community purpose, can equally structure behavior around entrepreneurship. Hypotheses are generated from these social theories and tested empirically using a six-community case study involving both entrepreneurs and institutional actors/representatives in both high- and low-entrepreneurship communities. Interaction and purpose are examined to understand how these may differ across communities with different levels of entrepreneurship. The implications of the findings for entrepreneurship development at the community level is discussed, with a focus on how entrepreneurship can be supported more effectively, quickly, and inexpensively using the community's interactive capacity.

Keywords: entrepreneurship; community; development; interaction; network; purposive development; sociology; rural; interaction field theory; weak ties

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