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The Role of Friendship in the Formation and Development of Entrepreneurial Teams and Ventures

D'Hont, L; Doern, Rachel and Delgado Garcia, J. 2016. The Role of Friendship in the Formation and Development of Entrepreneurial Teams and Ventures. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 23(2), pp. 528-561. ISSN 1462-6004 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Purpose – The paper examines the potential influence of friendship on Entrepreneurial Teams (ETs) and on venture formation and development. The theoretical framework is built on the literature around friendship ties, the interaction of friendship ties and professional ties and ETs.
Design/methodology/approach – Taking an interpretative methodological approach, we carried out qualitative interviews with 10 business founders in Paris, France.
Findings – We identified four different profiles or types of ETs according to how friendship ties interact with professional ties among team members, which we designate as ‘fusion’ and ‘separation’, and describe the orientation of this interaction, which we label as ‘affective’ or ‘strategic’. These profiles affect the emergence of the idea and the choice of members in the formation of teams. They also shape the functioning of teams in terms of decision-making processes, recruitment and investment.
Research limitations/implications – The findings underline the difficulties of studying friendship in ETs empirically and recommend longitudinal approaches for further research.
Practical implications – Findings offer insights in to why and how ETs based on friendship ties approach the pre-launch, launch and development phases of businesses as well as in to the interactions between professional and friendship ties, which is helpful to both practitioners and academics. We also discuss the consequences and implications of the different team types in terms of their risks and strategies for mitigating these risks.
Originality/value – This is one of the first empirical studies to examine how friendship and professional ties may combine and evolve in ETs, and their influence on the entrepreneurial process as it relates to venture formation and development.

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Identification Number (DOI):


Qualitative method, Entrepreneurial teams, Formation of teams, Friendship ties, Functioning of teams, Strength of ties


23 February 2016Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

06 Nov 2015 22:57

Last Modified:

02 Jul 2019 15:10

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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