It’s the company you keep that matters: A study on effects of friends and mentor on opportunity recognition

by Asst. Prof. Dr. Wei Lee Lim, Prof. Dr. Mohar Yusof, Prof. Dr. Siri Roland Xavier and Dr.Leilanie Mohd Nor

International Journal of Management, Accounting, Governance and Education, 2021, Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 28 – 40


Purpose – the purpose of this study is to examine the relationships of social networks and entrepreneurial opportunity recognition of small technology firms in Malaysia. The study seeks to explore the gaps between the practice of mentoring in technology start-up firms. Design/methodology/approach – this paper employs a quantitative research design involving selfreporting questionnaires. Founders and co-founders of technology companies (n=255) are surveyed as respondents and data collected are analyzed using PLS-SEM technique.

Findings – Findings have shown that both casual friends and mentors affect the entrepreneur’s ability to recognize opportunity but each in its different ways. Entrepreneurs who possess wider social contacts benefits from a wide array of information which plays a key role to opportunity previously not recognized either due to lack of information or resources to exploit. Mentors, on the other hand, influence the entrepreneur’s ability to recognize opportunity through the preparation of the mind in a state of readiness torecognize opportunities. To identify opportunities, a weak tie network is best suited to spark the imagination of the entrepreneur in novel ideas.

Practical implications – From a more practical standpoint, the use of mentorship programs in entrepreneurial and incubation initiatives needs to be clear on the expected role and outcome for the mentor. Without a doubt, mentors play an important role in the maturing process of a novice entrepreneur but the key to effective mentorship is the ‘how’ the mentors’ influence.

Originality/value – The clear delineation of the opportunity construct within the entrepreneurship studies enables progress to be made in building a clearer opportunity recognition framework. The empirical results are also supporting the presence of entrepreneurial alertness as the mediator in the model. This relationship has not been explored and empirically proven.

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