Title: Size does not matter - in the virtual world. Comparing online social networking behaviour with business success of entrepreneurs

Authors: Peter A. Gloor; Stephanie Woerner; Detlef Schoder; Kai Fischbach; Andrea Fronzetti Colladon

Addresses: MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, 245 First Street, 02142 Cambridge, MA, USA ' MIT Center for Information Systems Research, 245 First Street, 02142 Cambridge, MA, USA ' Department of Information Systems and Information Management, Institute for Broadcasting Economics, University of Cologne, Pohligstraße 1, 50969 Cologne, Germany ' University of Bamberg, An der Weberei 5, 96047 Bamberg, Germany ' Department of Enterprise Engineering, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Via del Politecnico, 1-00133 Rome, Italy

Abstract: We explore what benefits network position in online business social networks like LinkedIn might confer to an aspiring entrepreneur. We compare two network attributes, size and embeddedness, and two actor attributes, location and diversity, between virtual and real-world networks. The promise of social networks like LinkedIn is that network friends enable easier access to critical resources such as legal and financial services, customers, and business partners. Our setting consists of one million public member profiles of the German business networking site XING (a German version of LinkedIn) from which we extracted the network structure of 15,000 start-up entrepreneurs from 12 large German universities. We find no positive effect of virtual network size and embeddedness, and small positive effects of location and diversity.

Keywords: online social networks; network analysis; entrepreneurship; business success.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEV.2018.093919

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 2018 Vol.10 No.4, pp.435 - 455

Received: 22 Sep 2015
Accepted: 21 Apr 2016

Published online: 09 Aug 2018 *

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