Research Article

Developing and Utilizing Efficient Ties in Entrepreneurial Networks in Africa

Published in: Africa Journal of Management
Volume 2, issue 1, 2016 , pages: 73–92
DOI: 10.1080/23322373.2015.1132104
Author(s): Sean LuxUniversity of South Florida College of Business, USA, Bruce T. LamontFlorida State University, USA, Kimberly M. EllisFlorida Atlantic University, USA, Gerald R. FerrisFlorida State University, USA, John MuchiraFlorida State University, USA

Abstract

How do an entrepreneur's capabilities affect social network development? What characteristics of the African context make network dynamics different than in more Westernized and developed markets? A theoretical model that links social effectiveness to effective relationship building and network development leading to greater levels of social capital is presented in an effort to address these and related questions. Social effectiveness provides a competitive advantage in social network development in three primary ways. First, socially effective entrepreneurs are able to identify potential contacts that will fulfill needs in their current social network. Second, they are able to develop effective relationships with a greater range of potential contacts, and third they are able to develop effective relationships with less effort. We describe effective relationships developed through limited social interaction as efficient ties. More importantly, we highlight how the development of efficient ties is different in African countries than in more Western nations. Specifically, (1) ubuntuism in certain collectivist countries and (2) tribal solidarity make efficient ties easier to develop and (3) corruption and distrust in economic exchange, (4) liabilities of kinship ties, and (5) tribal, religious, and linguistic diversity make the development of efficient ties more difficult compared to Westernized contexts.

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