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Doctoral thesis, 2023

The Force of Social Media : Rethinking the social and spatial contexts in entrepreneurship

Jonsson, Josefina


The aim in this thesis is to develop an understanding of how social media influences the social and spatial contexts in entrepreneurial processes. Social media has transformed the way in which individuals interact, communicate, and experience contemporary society, which in turn may have implications for entrepreneurship. The thesis is based on a qualitative methodology, comprised of ethnographic and netnographic analyses of three empirical cases. 

The role of social media in entrepreneurial processes is discussed in four separate papers, each exploring a different perspective on the phenomenon. Paper I introduces the topic by illuminating how online communities can function as a context in entrepreneurship and interact with local change processes. Paper II shows how individuals online can influence entrepreneurial processes by forcefully entering into local processes, discussed as "intrusive ties." Paper III focuses on online community entrepreneurship to explore social interactions, spatial factors and the entrepreneurial process. Paper IV considers the entrepreneurial risks and opportunities associated with so-called echo chambers on social media, exploring how they work as social and spatial contexts, and shape the conditions of embeddedness. 

Using a contextualized view of entrepreneurship from the literature as a point of departure, this thesis provides a critical discussion of, firstly, how social media is becoming a contextual element in entrepreneurship; secondly, how we can use the metaphors of embeddedness and ties to discuss online and local relations; and thirdly, how we can rethink the social and spatial contexts in entrepreneurship. The thesis contributes to the literature by unpacking the role of non-local engagement in local place, demonstrating social media’s role in the structuring social life and entrepreneurial processes. Lastly, the thesis highlights the potential of netnographic methods for understanding entrepreneurship research in our connected society. 


Community; embeddedness; entrepreneurship; social context; social Media; spatial context; structure; ties

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2023, number: 2023:90
ISBN: 978-91-8046-234-1, eISBN: 978-91-8046-235-8
Publisher: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Media Studies
    Business Administration

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