Entrepreneurship, occupational division and social capital differentials

Robert Lee, Heinz Tuselmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


– The purpose of this study is to demonstrate how occupational division impacts on social capital and access to resources that may have a bearing on the growth potential and success of a new venture.

– This study compares the social capital profiles of early‐stage entrepreneurs in England with distinct occupational classifications – i.e. entrepreneurs who were completing training on the Science and Enterprise Challenge (SEC) initiative and pursuing professional and higher technician businesses, and entrepreneurs who were completing training on the New Entrepreneurship Scholarship (NES) initiative and who were residing in deprived areas, unemployed or underemployed and pursuing non‐professional businesses. The European Socio‐economic Classification (ESeC) was adopted to classify occupation. The entrepreneurs completed aided name generator questionnaires and in‐depth interviews.

– The findings demonstrate that professional and higher technician entrepreneurs have higher levels of bridging and diverse resources when compared to non‐professional entrepreneurs residing in deprived areas. The non‐professional entrepreneurs also seem over‐reliant on too much bonding.

Practical implications
– Policy makers strive to understand who has the most productive social capital when launching a business and who does not. The findings may help provide an initial awareness that across the board entrepreneurial policies are inappropriate, as the building of social capital seems contextual.

– The high bridging social capital of professional and higher technician entrepreneurs could enable “getting ahead” and could be entrepreneurial/innovative “facilitating social capital”. The non‐professional entrepreneurs residing in deprived areas' over‐reliance on bonding social capital could be a liability and entrepreneurial/innovative “inhibiting social capital”.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-680
JournalJournal of Small Business and Enterprise Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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