• Entrepreneurs and Friendship: the ties of Mutuality

      Manning, Paul; Leeds Metropolitan University
      The purpose of this paper is to present theoretically informed research into the significance of business friendships for entrepreneurs. The importance of social ties for economic success has been examined in depth from a number of academic perspectives. For example from a business ethics perspective, Jonathan Schonsheck has taken Aristotle’s classical analysis to argue that business friendships are an example of ‘incomplete friendships for utility’ (2000, pp. 897-910). Laura Spence has also argued that business friendships offer a positive contribution to the well-being of actors (2004). Network theory literature, which is extensive (see Nitin & Eccles, 1990, for an overview), has also considered business friendships and there is a further subset of network research focusing on entrepreneurial processes from a social network viewpoint (Blundel & Smith, 2001; O’Donnel, 2004; Shaw & Conway, 2000, pp. 367-383). Moreover, Mark Granovetter’s seminal article ‘The strength of weak ties’ (1973) can be thought of as theorising business friendships in network terms. Additional related research fields, such as social capital theory (Castiglione et al, 2008), have also considered the significance of social ties (business friendships) for success in the marketplace.