Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE credits
New technologies are changing the way entrepreneurs network. Internet Based Neworking
Websites (IBNWs) are re shaping the process in which we network and communicate with
one another, on a personal and also on a professional level. The biggest example of this is
the incredible rise of IBNWs such as Facebook and LinkedIn that together hold more than
300 million users. This is a very new form of networking where individuals are able to
communicate and connect with an almost limitless amount of people, regardless of their
geographical location. The more traditional forms of networking are seen as phone calls
and face to face communication, while in the last two decades email has also been
incorporated into a common and professional form of networking for the purpose of
business. Since IBNWs are a new form of maintaining relationships, for our thesis we have
decided to address the question of how IBNWs affect the process of networking during the
development of ventures.
In the thesis we explore the concepts put forward by authors such as; Granovetter, Hoang
and Antoncic, Aldrich and Zimmer, Deutsch, Sonnenberg among others. In addition we
used the structure used by Hoand and Antoncic to create a framework when analyzing the
networking process though IBNWs. This framework is split in to three categories: Network
structure, governance, and content. Using a qualitative interpretivist approach we have
developed an extensive case study and we have interviewed ten entrepreneurs from a wide
array of industries and locations. To help us analyze the data retrieved we have also
interviewed an expert in the field of business and internet landscaping. The aim of the study
is to generate a new framework for networking in the 21st century in light of the IBNW
boom. The findings demonstrate that IBNWs are being used widely by entrepreneurs, but
mainly for advices and information or in other words, providing low commitment content.
We have concluded that IBNWs are perceived as an informal cold and weak form of
networking and maintaining business networks and if relationships where to progress to
higher levels of commitment then entepreneurs will turn to more traditional ways of
network maintenance such as face-to-face meetings.
2011. , 59 p.