Knowledge Networks: Differences and Performance Effects


  • Emeric Solymossy Western Illinois University - Quad Cities


A  survey  of  141 small  &  medium  sized  enterprise  (SME) principals  reveals  two distinctly different types of knowledge networks  based upon the principal s perception of whether or not networks provide a significant benefit to their firm.   Significant differences exist in the type  of  information  exchanged,  the type  of  networks  maintained,  and  how  networking activities contribute to the competitive position and performance of the firm.  Firms that see benefits  to  networking  maintain  intense  and  broad  networks  oriented  towards  potential knowledge.   Assimilating  this knowledge, they gain competitive advantage and maintain higher levels of performance. Those that do not see a benefit to networking activities maintain less  intensive  networks,  exchanging  experientially  based  information;  information that  is 'tried and true" and which can be adapted to incrementally improve their operations.


Aldrich, H., & Zimmer, K. (I986). "Entrepreneurship through social networks," in Sexton, D. L., and Smilor, R. (Ed.), The art and science of entrepreneurship, Ballinger Publishing, Cambridge, MA.

Bergeron, S., Lallisch, S., & LeBas, C. (I998). Location of innovating activities, industrial structure and techno-industrial clusters in the French economy, 1985-1990. Evidence From US Patenting. Research Policy 26, 733-751.

Birley, S. (1985). The role of networks in the entrepreneurial process, Journal of Business Venturing. I , 107-117.

Brigham, K., & Reed, T. (I999, August). An empirical examination of entrepreneurial student's distinctive cognitive styles: Implications for effective entrepreneurial education, Paper presented at the Academy of Management Conference, Chicago, Illinois.

Brunderl, J., & Preisendorfer, P. (I998). Network support and the success of newly founded businesses, Small Business Economics. 10(3), 213-225.

Carlsson, B. ( 1997). On and off the beaten path: The evolution of four technological systems in Sweden, International Journal of Industrial Organization, 15, 775-799.

Donckels, R., & Lambrecht, J. (1997). The network position of small businesses: An explanatory model. Journal of Small Business Management (April), 13-25.

Foss, L. (1993). Resources, networks and entrepreneurship: A survey of 153 starters and 84 non-starters in the cod farming industry in Norway. In Churchill, N., et al. (Ed.), Frontiers of entrepreneurship research, Babson Park, Massachusetts: Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, 355-369.

Gallant-Stokes, T. ( 1997). Entrepreneur: venturing out on your own. Black Enterprise. 1 7(6), 49-52.

Gulati, R. (1995). Social structure and alliance formation patterns: A longitudinal analysis, Administrative Science Quarterly, 40, 619-652.

Hite, J., & Hesterly, W. (1999). The evolution of entrepreneurial network ties in emerging entrepreneurial firms. Strategic Management Journal (submitted).

Hoang, H., & Antoncic, B. (1999). Network-based research in entrepreneurship: A critical review. Working paper, Cleveland, Ohio: Case Western Reserve University.

Jarillo, C. ( 1989). Entrepreneurship and growth: The strategic use of external resources. Journal of Business Venturing. 4(2), 133-147.

Johann isson, B. (1990, August). Building an entrepreneurial career in a mixed economy: Need for social and business ties in personal networks. Paper presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA..

Johannisson, B. (1996). The dynamics of entrepreneurial networks. In Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research, Babson Park, Massachusetts: Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.

Kirton, M.J. (1976). Adaptors and innovators: A description and measure. Journal of Applied Psychology, 61, 622-629.

Larson, A., & Starr, J. (1993). A network model of organization formation. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 17(2), 5-15.

Lee, M., Rogoff, E. & Puryear, A. (1998, January). Differences between aspiring minority and established, non-minority business owners: Is there a goal gap? Proceedings of USASBE 1 2th Annual Conference, Clearwater, FA, 1-1 1.

Lorenzoni, G. & Lipparini, A. (1999). The leveraging of interfirm relationships as a distinctive organizational capability: A longitudinal study. Strategic Management Journal. 20(4), 317-338.

Ostgaard, T. A. & Birley, S. (1996). New venture growth and personal networks. Journal of Business Research, 36(1), 37-50.

Peters, M., & Brush C. (1996). market information scanning activities and growth in new ventures: A comparison of service and manufacturing businesses. Journal of Business Research. 36 81-89.

Pfeffer J. & Salancik, G. (1978). External Control of Organization: New York, NY: Harper & Row.

Porter, M. ( 1 985). Competitive advantage: Creating and sustaining superior performance: New York, NY: The Free Press.

Provan, K., & Human, S. (1999). Organizational learning and the role of network brokers in small firm manufacturing networks. In A. Grandori (ed.), Inter-firm networks: Negotiated order and industrial competitiveness. New York, NY: Routledge Publishing.

Solymossy, E. (1998). Entrepreneurial Dimensions: The Relationship of Individual. Venture. and Environmental Factors to Success, Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland

Van Auken, H., & Neeley, L. (1998, January). The impact of planning on the acquisition of start-up capital, Proceedings of USASBE 12th Annual Conference, Clearwater, FA 248-259.

Zacharakis, A. (1997). Entrepreneurial entry into foreign markets: A transaction cost perspective. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 21(3), 23-39.

Zhao, L., & Aram, J. (1995). Networking and growth of young technology-intensive ventures in China. Journal of Business Venturing, 10(5), 349-370.







How to Cite

Knowledge Networks: Differences and Performance Effects. (2000). Journal of Small Business Strategy (archive Only), 11(1), 14-25.