Social capital and networks: networking events enacting knowledge transactions within an entrepreneurial ecosystem
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date02/12/2022
De Castro Rocha, Augusto
Despite a widespread recognition that networking events serve an essential purpose in entrepreneurial ecosystems, there is still thin evidence about how these events support knowledge flow. The foundations behind accessing resources embedded within networks are strongly linked with obtaining knowledge as an outcome of social interactions. These interactions produce social capital, which is crucial for individuals interacting with their environment to obtain resources by exploring their social networks' structural and relational features. This research takes a meso-level perspective of entrepreneurial ecosystems focusing on the characteristics of networking events involved in building an environment conducive to the development of social capital. The introduction of the digital context to unveil relational connectivity within an entrepreneurial ecosystem proved to be effective in terms of the quantity and quality of information collected. Data originated from this context provided information about 148 meetup groups supporting entrepreneurial activities in Edinburgh. The total membership of these groups amounted to approximately 22,000 individuals, which was used to create a co-affiliation network to explore hidden entrepreneurial communities in the ecosystem. Moreover, this data is supplemented by 33 in-depth interviews with networking events organisers and members. The overall analysis uses mixed techniques to account for all stages involved in converting, developing, and making sense of various data sources. As a result, this study adds to the academic discussion about the dynamics of entrepreneurial communities and how they affect the development of social capital, which is essential for knowledge sharing practices. Additionally, after unveiling these communities, it demonstrates how various structural components combined with relational circumstances influence the development and preservation of social capital within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.