Title: Social capital: an asset or a liability to entrepreneurial activity?

Authors: Lars Ronning

Addresses: Bodo Graduate School of Business; Nordland Research Institute, N-8049 Bodo, Norway

Abstract: This study has outlined a framework for studying social capital related to entrepreneurial activity. An acknowledgement of both positive and negative effects of social capital, as well as a distinction between business-related and civil society-related social capital, has led to a framework that focuses upon enabling versus disabling business-related social capital and encouraging versus discouraging civil society-related social capital. A representative sample consisting of 712 Norwegian farm households, in which 20% were engaged in entrepreneurial activity, was analysed to investigate hypothesised association between social capital and entrepreneurial activity. The analysis found evidence of enabling social capital in terms of diverse networks and in terms of strong ties that could facilitate cooperation. It also found disabling social capital in terms of overembeddedness in the farming community. Other results indicate that improved measures are needed to address civil society-related social capital.

Keywords: social capital; entrepreneurial activity; farm households; entrepreneurship; Norway; networks; farming communities; civil society.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2009.022808

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2009 Vol.7 No.2, pp.232 - 252

Published online: 27 Jan 2009 *

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