Hamed, Abu Bakar
The personal networks of small firm entrepreneurs in Malaysia: an exploratory study.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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The study demonstrates that Bumiputera entrepreneurs have a huge social resource which can provide them with a variety of help and support in business. A model for networking management has been developed in order to understand the relationship between entrepreneurs and their personal networks. This model includes four stages of development of the relationship i.e. the planning, establishment, development and maintenance stages. The research also suggests that people in the entrepreneurs' personal network can be categorised into three groups, based on the nature of the relationship. Primary networks consisted of family and old friends; Secondary networks included new friends, government staff (of agriculture and its related areas) and people in agriculture, trade and commerce, and other associations; and tertiary networks comprised of suppliers, customers, bankers and government staff (directly involved in the development of Bumiputera entrepreneurs).
Since the Bumiputera culture certain relationships with people of personal networks have existed for some time, it was found that some of the management stages were missing. The qualitative discussion suggests that the stages, especially those of development and maintenance, have a crucial impact on the development of entrepreneurial businesses. It was also found that male entrepreneurs were active in networking while women were more selective in their networking due to cultural and economic limitations. In addition, women included men in their networks while men tended not to include women. Men therefore found it easier to create a stronger tertiary network than women. Government policy also plays an important role in structuring the personal networks of Bumiputera entrepreneurs. Bumiputera entrepreneurs include staff of government agencies as a part of their personal networks. This enables them to seek help and support for their business development.
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