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The networks of the solo self-employed and their success

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  • Sierdjan Koster
  • Nardo de Vries

Abstract

An increasing proportion of the Dutch labour market is formed by the solo selfemployed (i.e. one person enterprises, mainly offering their own human capital). Knowledge on solo self-employed is still limited and this makes tailoring policy measures towards this group difficult. Their network position may play a crucial role in economic performance of solo self-employed, as resources available are by definition limited. They are likely to depend heavily on their professional networks for acquisition and mobilizing additional resources. In this paper we use a specially constructed panel of solo self-employed from the Netherlands to explore the motives, gestation and spatial extent of their networks. (Multinomial) logit models are used to relate network position to their economic performance. The results suggest that the motives for and gestation of cooperation between solo self-employed differ from other groups of entrepreneurs. In contrast to existing ideas about network benefits, information sharing and knowledge spill-overs are not an important motive for solo self-employed. Rather, they focus on executing jobs and joint acquisition. Finally, we find that in terms of success a good network position is negatively related to economic performance. In more detail, cooperation on scope is connected to success, whereas joined acquisition is related to poor performing solo self-employed. It seems that solo self-employed reach out to their colleagues when business is slow.

Suggested Citation

  • Sierdjan Koster & Nardo de Vries, 2011. "The networks of the solo self-employed and their success," Scales Research Reports H201111, EIM Business and Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:eim:papers:h201111
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Bengt Johannissson, 1998. "Personal networks in emerging knowledge-based firms: spatial and functional patterns," Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(4), pages 297-312, January.
    7. L Oerlemans & R M Bakker & J. Knoben & Nardo de Vries, 2010. "The Nature and Prevalence of Inter-Organizational Project Ventures: Evidence from a large scale Field Study in the Netherlands 2006-2009," Scales Research Reports H201016, EIM Business and Policy Research.
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