Do Strategic Business Networks Benefit Male-and-Female-Owned Small-Community Businesses?
AbstractThis research, based on social capital and strategic networking theory, explored small business owners' use of formal networking as a strategy for conducting business in competitive markets. Data were collected from 285 men and 111 women, who operated small businesses in small communities and were members of one of 29 business networks. Findings, based on hierarchical regression, suggest there are descriptive differences among male and female small business owners such as the business size and years of ownership that should be further explored. However, no differences were found for perceived network benefits based on gender, size of business, or years of ownership. Variables central to social capital and strategic network theory held a positive effect on network benefits (R^sup 2^ = .580), suggesting strategic business networks do benefit both male- and female-owned small community businesses. Understanding how small community businesses operate and interact in network organizations has implications for business improvement and, ultimately, small community development.
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