Document Type : Scientific Research Manuscript


1 Professor of Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences and Economics, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran

2 Assistant Professor of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences and Economics, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran


The popularity of the network concept has increased dramatically, its importance for entrepreneurial activities has become increasingly recognized, and in a way, it can be said that it has become fashionable. Recent studies of the new economic sociology on the subject of women's entrepreneurship also focus on general specifications and limitations; they mainly emphasize the importance of networks. It is important to note that we must trace the fundamental difference between the achievements of men and women entrepreneurs in the concept of networks. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to increase the perception of networks and how to use them for entrepreneurial and business activities. To achieve this goal, the social network perspective has been considered and the qualitative method of network analysis has been used to deeply explain the network activities of 40 participants in the study. In this paper, we will study the social networks of women who have founded modern handicraft brands. This paper elaborates on two main questions; 1) what are the forms and quality of women's networking in this field? And 2) dose this networking help to create or facilitate their economic activities? To answer these questions, we present three layers of the network. Strong ties that are the family relationships, weak ties which include friendships and relationships with strangers i.e., customers. The most important viewpoint of this study is that its subjects are mostly using virtual communication tools for establishing relations with their customers. As discussed in this paper, this type of communication somehow guarantees the success and durability of their business.


Main Subjects

Aldrich, H.E. (1989). Networking among women entrepreneurs. In Women owned Businesses. (pp.103-132). Publisher: Praeger.

Aldrich, H.E., & Zimmer, C. (1986). Entrepreneurship through social networks. In The Art and Science of Entrepreneurship (pp. 3-23). Cambridge, MA: Ballinger.

Aldrich, H.E., Elam, A. B., & Reese P. R. (1996). Strong ties, weak ties, and strangers: Do women business owners differ from men in their use of networking to obtain assistance?. InS. Birley & I.C. MacMillan (Eds.), Entrepreneurship in a Global Context (pp:1-25). London: Routledge.

Aldrich, H.E., Reese, P., & Dubini, P. (1989). Women on the Verge of a Breakthrough: Networking Among Entrepreneurs in the United States and Italy. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 339-356. doi: 10.1080/08985628900000029

Aldrich, H. E., & Fiol, M. C. (1994). Fools rush in? The institutional context of industry creation. Academy of Management Review, 19, 645-70.  doi: 10.5465/amr.1994.9412190214

Andre, R. (1992). A national profile of women's participation in networks of small business leaders. Journal of Small Business Management, 30(1), 66-73.  

Arasti, Z., & Akbari Jowkari M. R. (2005). The Iranian women entrepreneurs' networks and business start-up. Journal of Women’s Studies Sociological and Psychological, 4(3), 5-22.  doi: 10.22059/JWDP.2013.35481

Arasti, Z., & Tarzamny, E. (2013). How the role of female entrepreneurs' social network changes from start-up to establishment phase: case study of export sector? Entrepreneurship Development, 6(4), 2-32.   doi:10.22059/JED.2013.50795

Arasti, Z., Kanani, A., & Seyedghasemi, N.  (2013). Angizehā-ye Kārāfarini-ye Zānān va Mārdān dar Baxš-e Zanān: Šābāhathā va tafāvothā [Women and men entrepreneurs' motivations in industry sector: similarities and differences]. Women in Development and Politics, 11(1), 83-100.  doi:10.22059/JWDP.2013.35481

Birley, S. (1985). The role of networks in the entrepreneurial process. Journal of Business Venturing, 1(1), 107–17.  doi: 10.1016/0883-9026(85)90010-2

Blank, R. (2010). Women Owned Businesses in the 21st Century. U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration. White House Council on Women and Girls. Retrieved from

Boissevain, J. (1974). Friends of friends, networks, manipulators and coalitions. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In Richardson, J. G. (Ed.), Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education (PP. 241-258). New York: Greenwood.

Bruderl, J., & Preisendorfer, P. (1998). Network support and the success of newly founded businesses. Small Bus Econ. 10, 213–225.  doi:10.1023/A:1007997102930

Easton, G. & Araujo, L. (1986). Networks, bonding and relationships in industrial markets. Industrial Marketing and Purchasing, 1(1), 8–25.

Fischer, C.S., & Oliker, S.J. (1983). A research note on friendship, gender, and the life cycle. Social Forces, 62, 124-133.  doi:10.2307/2578351

Fornoni, M., & Arribas, I., & Vila, J. E.(2010). Measurement of an Individual Entrepreneur’s Social Capital: a Multidimensional Model. National University of Mar del Plata. doi:10.1007/s11365-011-0204-1

Freeman, J. (1999). Venture capital as an economy of time. In Corporate Social Capital and Liability (pp. 460–482). Kluwer Academic Publishihing, Boston. doi:10.1007/978-1-4615-5027-3_26

Gelard, P. (2007). Khānevāde va rāhkārhā-ye towse’e karāfarini-ye Zānān-e Irani [Family and sulutions for Iranian women entrepreneurship develpment. Women In Development and Politics, 7(21), 131-149.

Gelard, P., Hosseini, M., & Asgari, E. (2016). The relationship between social networks and performance of women's businesses: The mediating role of entrepreneurial alertness and gender discrimination. Entrepreneurship Development, 10(2), 299-318.  doi:10.22059/JED.2017.231257.652186

Gimeno, J., Folta, T., Cooper, A.C., & Woo, C.Y. (1997). Survival of the fittest? Entrepreneurial human capital and the persistence of underperforming firms. Administrative Science Quarterly, 42(4), 750-783. doi:10.2307/2393656

Goffee, R., & Scase, R. (1985). Women in charge: The experiences of female entrepreneurs. London: George Allen and Unwin.

Granovetter, M. (1985). Economic institutions as social constructions: A framework for analysis. American Journal of Sociology, 91, 481–510. doi: 10.1177/000169939203500101

Greve, A., & Salaff, J. (2003). Social networks and entrepreneurship. entrepreneurship. Theory & Practice. 28, (1), 1-22.  doi: 10.1111/1540-8520.00029

Hoang, H. & Antoncic, B. (2003). Network-based research in entrepreneurship: A critical review. Journal of Business Venturing, 18(2), 495–527. doi:10.1016/S0883-9026(02)00081-2

Hurlbert, J.S. & Acock, A.C. (1990). The effects of marital status on the form and Composition of social networks. Social Science Quarterly, 71, 163-174.

Jack, S. L. (2005). The role, use and activation of strong and weak network ties: A qualitative analysis. Journal of Management Studies.42(6), 1233-1260. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6486.2005.00540.x

Jackson, M. O. (2007). The study of social networks in economics, The Missing Links: Formation and Decay of Economic Networks. Retrieved from

Johannisson, B., Alexanderson, O., Nowicki, K., & Senneseth, K. (1994). Beyond anarchy and organization: entrepreneurs in contextual networks. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 6(4), 329–356. doi:10.1080/08985629400000020

Klyver, K. (2011). Gender differences in entrepreneurial networks: adding an alter perspective. Gender in Management: An International Journal, 26(5), 332–350. doi:10.1108/17542411111154886

Marsden, P. V. & Campbell, K. E. (1984). Measuring Tie Strength. Social Forces,63(2):482-501. doi:10.2307/2579058

Mitchell, J. C. (1979). Social networks.Annual Review of Anthropology, 3, 279-299. doi:10.1146/

Moore, D. P. (1990). An examination of present research on the female entrepreneur—suggested research strategies for the 1990’s. Journal of Business Ethics, 9, 275–281.  doi:10.1007/BF00380327

Morgan, G., & Smircich, L. (1980). The Case for Qualitative Research. Academy of Management Review, 5(4), 491–500. doi:10.5465/amr.1980.4288947

Oinas, P. (1999). Voices and silences: The problem of access to embeddedness. Geoforum, 30, 351–61.  doi: 10.1016/S0016-7185(99)00026-3

Renzulli, L. A., Aldrich, H., & Moody, J. (2000). Family Matters: Gender, Networks, and Entrepreneurial Outcomes. Social Forces, 79(2), 523. doi:10.2307/2675508

Reskin, B., & Hartmann, H. (1986). Women's work, men's work: Sex segregation on the job. Washington: National Academy.

Reskin, B., & Ross C. (1992). Jobs, authority, and earnings among managers. Work and Occupations, 19, 342-365. doi:10.1177/0730888492019004002

Reynolds, P.D, & White S. (1997). The entrepreneurial Process: Economic growth, men, women, and minorities. westport, CT: Quorum. doi:10.1002/hrdq.3920100212

Robb, A.  (2013). Access to capital among young firms, Minority-owned Firms, Women-owned firms, and high-tech firms. SBA, Office of Advocacy, Under contract No SBAHQ-11-M-0203.Retrieved from

Robinson, Sh., & Stubberud, H. A. (2009). Sources of advice in entrepreneurship: gender differences in business wwners’ social networks. International Journal of Entrepreneurship, 13, 83-101

Shafiei, Z. (2017). Jāme'eshenāsy konesh eghtesady zānān Karāfarin ba ta’kid bar brandhāye aanāye’e dasty  [Sociology of female entrepreneurs economic actions: with a emphasis on handicrafts brands] (Unpublished doctoral dissertation), University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

Shafiei, Z., & Raghfar, H. (2020). Asre dast sāzehāye modern: Motāle'e jāme'e šenāxti [The age of modern handicrafts: A sociological study]. Tehran, Iran: Enteshārāt Soroush.

Shariati, S., & Shafiei, Z. (2018). "Rebirth": Qualitative study of the emerging phenomenon of modern handicrafts in networks era. Sociological Journal of Art and Literature, 10(1), 189-229.   doi:10.22059/JSAL.2019.257568.665619

Simmel, G. (2015). On individuality and social forms. Tehran, Iran: Enteshārāt Donyāye Eghtesād.

Singh, R.P., Hills, G.E., Lumpkin, G.T., & Hybels, R.C., (1999). The entrepreneurial opportunity recognition process: Examining the role of self-perceived alertness and social networks.Academy of Management Meeting, Chicago, IL. doi:10.5465/apbpp.1999.27600505

Smeltzer, L.R., & Van Hook, B.L., & Hutt, R.W. (1991). Analysis and use of advisors as information sources in venture startups. Journal of Small Business Management; Milwaukee, 29 (3), 10–20.

Staber, U. (1993). Friends, acquaintances, strangers: gender differences in the structure of entrepreneurial networks. Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 11(1), 73-82.  doi:10.1080/08276331.1993.10600450

Strauss, A. L. (1987). Qualitative analysis for aocial acientists. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Stuart, T.E., & Sorenson, O. (2005). Social networks and entrepreneurship. International Handbook Series on Entrepreneurship (Vol. 2; Pp 233-252). doi:10.1007/0-387-23622-8_11

Surangi, H.A.K.N.S. (2013). Research on entrepreneur networks: A comprehensive review of literature. 2nd International Confrence on Humanities, Economics and Geography, 17-18, London (UK).

Upton L. O., Broming, E. J., & Upton, R. L. (2015). Research on women entrepreneurs’ social networks. Retrieved from

Zimmer, C., & Aldrich, H. (1987). Resource mobilization through ethnic networks: Kinship and friendship ties of shopkeepers in England. Sociological Perspectives, 30(4), 422-445. doi: 10.2307/1389212