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Social capital development among tenant firms and between tenant firms and the host university in business incubators : a case of a Turkish business incubator

Köseoğlu, Gamze
In order to determine the effects of social capital in innovative contexts, Nahapiet and Ghoshal’s (1998) three dimensions of social capital (structural, relational and cognitive) were investigated in a business incubator located in a university science park. This thesis tries to answer five questions for the incubator context: (1) What are the antecedents of the three dimensions of social capital? (2) What are the benefits of social capital for the tenant firms? (3) How are the dimensions of social capital related to the antecedents and benefits? (4) What are the effects of being located in a university on social capital development between the firms and the host university? and (5) What is the role of the incubator management/specialists on social capital creation? The research questions were investigated in two layers: (1) Social capital development among tenant firms, and (2) Social capital development between the tenant firms and the host university. The research was designed with a multi-method approach along four steps. In the first step, the selected incubator was observed for a day. In the second stage, a pilot interview was conducted with one of the tenant firms. Next the firms were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their demographic characteristics. In the last stage, a theoretical sample of nine selected firms’ owners were interviewed. All the collected data were analyzed following the grounded theory approach (Strauss and Corbin, 1990) and seven propositions were developed to be investigated in further research.