Prossimità relazionale: key driver per nuove opportunità imprenditoriali

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] Relational proximity: key driver for new business opportunities

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


[Autom. eng. transl.] The process of setting up a new company has been the subject of study by various research branches that have investigated the relationship between the generating company (or incumbent) and the new venture. The traditional analysis approach, which is based on a firm centric vision, considers the emergence of entrepreneurial opportunities from an endogenous perspective, based on the investments in knowledge made by the incumbent company but not marketed by it (Sorenson et al., 2006; Lombardi et al., 2011; Audretsch and Feldman, 2004). The incumbent company therefore generates knowledge spillover against a business spin-off (Agrawal et al., 2004), adopting a knowledge exploitation logic (Braunerhjelm 2010; Landström et al., 2012). In a different perspective, what knowledge spillovers can influence the development of a start-up that does not arise from the presence of an existing company? By adopting a collaborative approach, the birth and development of a start-up does not depend only on the figure of the entrepreneur but on the interconnected relationships that the new venture engages with different business partners. Thanks to these relationships, the start-up can access the knowledge resources it needs to develop its business. From a traditional perspective, knowledge spill-overs develop in a limited geographical space and are therefore produced by geographical proximity. Geographical areas characterized by the presence of small and medium-sized enterprises, specialized and in relation to each other (Becattini, 1987), can promote a faster circulation of ideas generating knowledge and technology spillovers (Audretsch and Feldman, 1994). As highlighted by Basile et al. (2012), the KS depend on geographical proximity but also on other forms of proximity. Geographical proximity, combined with cognitive proximity (Wuyts et al., 2005), social (Granovetter, 1985; Boschma, 2005; Yeung, 2005), institutional, influence learning and inter-organizational interaction. These interactions are based on the similarity with which the actors perceive, interpret and understand the context in which they operate (Wuyts et al., 2005). And it is precisely the context that influences the emergence of entrepreneurial opportunities, as highlighted by the Knowledge Spillover Theory of Entrepreneurship (KSTE) (Audretsch and Keilbach, 2007, 2008; Audretsch et al., 2006). By recognizing physical proximity as the important role of facilitator of the transmission of tacit knowledge through common codes and personal relationships, relational proximity becomes a precondition for interactions to develop. In this sense, relational proximity relates to social relationships. Shifting attention to a business context, as highlighted by the Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Group (IMP - Hakansson et al., 2009), a business network can be considered as a space delineated by the interconnection of different business relationships between actors who have a different position in the network. Network ties and relational space (Huemer et al., 2004) generate new opportunities for knowledge sharing. In particular the transfer of knowledge takes place in a relational space between heterogeneous actors that are characterized by a relational proximity of a business type. The discovery of entrepreneurial opportunities does not therefore take place in a space characterized exclusively by geographical proximity but in a space that is characterized by a relational proximity. In relational space, start-ups coordinate their activities with different business partners through a networking process to learn and generate new knowledge. In particular, in the new entrepreneurial network a leading role is being taken by the incubators
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] Relational proximity: key driver for new business opportunities
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationLa persona non è un’isola. Scritti italiani in onore di Ivan Snehota
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • knowledge spillover
  • prossimità relazionale


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