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Xiaoling Li

DBA Graduate - 2016

Thesis title

Entrepreneur social network, entrepreneurial Learning and performance of firms in industry cluster

Supervisor(s)

Shujun Zhang

Dr. Xiaoling Li graduated from Sun Yat-sen University (P. R.China) and was awarded a Master’s  degree in business administration. She has worked in an export trading company for eight years and has been at the university for eight years and has been in charge of international cooperation and graduate programs. She is experienced n collaborative negotiations of international programs, program managements, and student activities. Dr. Xiaoling Li’s research interests are strategic management and entrepreneurship.

Purpose This thesis introduces the theories of social network and entrepreneurial learning into the research on performance of firms in industry cluster; from the perspective of entrepreneur social network and with entrepreneurial learning as medium, it has conducted an empirical research on growth performance of firms in industry cluster; it has established the mechanism of action of entrepreneur social network and entrepreneurial learning on performance of firms in industry cluster; and it has provided a necessary basis for firms in cluster to realize sustainable growth. Design/methodology/approach This thesis optimizes a research model in entrepreneur social network, entrepreneurial learning and performance of firms in industry cluster on basis of the relevant literature review, and validates the theoretical hypotheses through the questionnaires on 170 firms in cluster and with the quantitative research method. Findings This research draws the following conclusions: 1) Entrepreneur social network has a significant positive effect on performance of firms in industry cluster. In detail, it has a direct effect on performance of firms in industry cluster via network scale and network intensity; 2) Entrepreneurial learning has a significant positive effect on performance of firms in industry cluster; 3) Entrepreneurial learning plays a mediating role in the relationship between social network and performance of firms in industry cluster. Research limitations/implications This Thesis has also further analyzed the insufficiency of the existing researches; being restricted by sampling area, the future researches may expand sampling scope and improve research contents and research methods. Practical implications In the current context that the industry firms in cluster of China are generally short of resources, how the entrepreneurs within industry cluster choose correct strategies, adapt to external surroundings, improve enterprise performance and realize sustainable development becomes the key. Therefore, in addition to the research on the effect of entrepreneur social network on enterprise performance, the exploration into the mediating role of entrepreneurial learning and the regulating role of industry cluster context is also practically significant. This research has brought forward some thinking recommendations in respect of the management practice of the firms in cluster of China, which are significant to guide the settlement of the problems in respect of the optimization and upgrade of the industry cluster of China and the promotion of the sustainable and sound development of regional cluster economy and also may provide important references for the government to establish the industry performance of firms in industry cluster promotion policies.