The Role of Materially Heterogeneous Entities in the Entrepreneurial Network

Few researchers have examined empirically the dynamics of human–non-human networking and its importance for strategic outcomes, particularly in the field of entrepreneurship. In this paper, we use Actor-Network Theory to observe and investigate the role of materially heterogeneous entities in the entrepreneurial network. Building on the results of a four-year, multi-case study, this paper describes how an entrepreneurial network, beyond its social nature, is also a socio-material constellation. The symmetric treatment of human and non-human actors enables us to move away from the figure of the heroic entrepreneur. Our findings reveal various roles that the heterogeneity of actor-networks can play in the entrepreneurial process. We see on the one hand their power to attract and recruit new allies when they are aligned with the entrepreneur’s vision, and on the other their ability to repel and block the new venture creation process when they fail to effectively translate what the entrepreneur has in mind.


Wadid Lamine, Alain Fayolle, Sarah Jack and Janice Byrne. Forthcoming. The Role of Materially Heterogeneous Entities in the Entrepreneurial Network, Industrial Marketing Management, first published 26 December 2017:

2018-02-08T17:29:44+00:00 By |

About the Author:

Janice Byrne
I am Assistant Professor of Human Resource Management and Organizational Behaviour at Iéseg School of Management, France and have been working there since August 2012. I previously worked at EMLYON Business where I completed my PhD in Management in 2012.  I am very proud to have been a member of the second ‘cohort’ of EMLYON’s PhD programme.  Early in 2017, I was lucky enough to be a visiting scholar at University of California, Santa Barbara: immersing myself in their award winning (gender studies!) sociology department was a real eye-opening experience for me!

Eccentric in nature, eclectic in research, my work generally combines at least two of the following three themes: gender, entrepreneurship and education.  My current work addresses gender and entrepreneurial role models, business growth intentions, training, work-life balance and family business succession.  I’ve published in numerous international journals including Academy of Management Learning and Education, Small Business Economics, Organizational Dynamics, Management International, Revue de l’Entrepreneuriat, Industry and Higher Education as well as popular media outlets such as the Harvard Business Review and The Huffington Post.  I am a member of the editorial board of Academy of Management Learning & Education and regularly review for various leading entrepreneurship journals. I am an active member of the ISBE’s Gender and Enterprise Network (GEN).  I am also a big fan of the DIANA project, and won Best Paper Award in 2015.

When it comes to combining research and practice, I try to be a do-er as well as a thinker (and a writer!): I am Academic Director of Led By HER, an entrepreneurship training program for women who have experienced violence or extreme personal hardship.  This initiative is the perfect symbiosis of my three passions: education, entrepreneurship and real girl power!

Wife to one very determined entrepreneur and mother to two enterprising young boys (!), I am very thankful for my strong and supportive family.  While I live in France, I am Irish to the core and frequently return to my fair city, Dublin.  There is nothing quite like the green, green grass of home!

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