n South African Journal of Business Management - Network-based resources for the innovation process of South African micro-entrepreneurs : a conceptual framework

Volume 46, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 2078-5585


The paper explores the social networks of South African micro-entrepreneurs in order to understand the socially-embedded resources that micro-entrepreneurs apply towards their innovation process. The paper posits that the social capital embedded within the network of a micro-entrepreneur is activated by the demands of the innovation process to generate other forms of resources by which the innovation process is facilitated. Analysing empirical data collected via in-depth interviews of urban micro-entrepreneurs in the Johannesburg metropolitan area, the analysis conceptually organizes these various forms of socially embedded resources into an original framework referred to as Network Diversity Value (NDV). Two central dimensions frame NDV - the orientation of the innovation process and the form of the emerging resource. The interaction of these dimensions reveal a variety of network-based resources perceived as valuable, and suggest a greater degree of complexity and nuance in the South African micro-entrepreneur's innovative process than that which common discourse conveys.

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