Startups networking: How and when to act?

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    Abstract

    Networking can be defined as the conscious process through which organizations act to achieve their objectives in interaction with partners. Ritter and Ford (2004) argue that organizations network by either conforming or confronting towards partners in existing relationships; either consolidating its network position or creating new relationships; and either coercing or conceding the behavior of its partners. Lui and Ngo (2005) and Tjemkes and Furrer (2010) developed other typologies of actions in the interaction process that include acquiescing, compromising, creating, avoiding, defying and manipulative network actions. The latter typologies have been used to study networking by startups (e.g. Thorgren, Wincent, & Boter, 2012). These previous studies showed that despite of their liabilities of newness and smallness, which make it more difficult to know how and when to act, startups still have room for taking actions. In these studies a single type of action at the time was investigated, for example acquiescing. This limits our understanding of startups’ use of alternative actions. Moreover, existing research into established firms showed that the decision to act in a particular way is influenced by both the willingness and ability to act. The rational underlying a particular action is expected to be different for startups than for established firms because of their fundamentally different characteristics, such as a lack of experience and resources. Therefore, the questions addressed in this paper are: what is the range of actions from which a startup chooses and when does it choose a particular action? These questions are addressed by comparing the network action typologies of Ritter and Ford (2004), Lui and Ngo (2005) and Tjemkes and Furrer (2010) to develop a comprehensive research model. This research model goes beyond their typologies by including the rational underlying the particular actions. Then, this research model is tested by investigating the interactions between a Dutch startup, which develops a new medical device, and its partners. In this way, this study is able to create more in-depth insight compared to existing research that takes a quantitative, cross-sectional approach. The initial findings show that (a) the startup is not always willing to conform to partners even when it is highly dependent on them and (b) the startup’s surrounding network influences its ability to act in a relationship.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    Event23rd Annual High Technology Small Firms Conference, HTSF 2015 - Groningen, Netherlands
    Duration: 5 Jun 20156 Jun 2015
    Conference number: 23

    Conference

    Conference23rd Annual High Technology Small Firms Conference, HTSF 2015
    Abbreviated titleHTSF
    CountryNetherlands
    CityGroningen
    Period5/06/156/06/15

    Keywords

    • Startups
    • Networking

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