Purpose – Focusing on entrepreneurship in China's emerging economy, this paper aims to explore the extent to which the human capital and social capital of Chinese entrepreneurs facilitates their acquisition of tacit marketing knowledge. Design/methodology/approach – Observation and literature review are presented. Findings – The paper proposes a conceptual framework that links tacit marketing knowledge and entrepreneurs' human and social capital. When accessibility of the general knowledge of expertise and professional business in a society is low, Chinese entrepreneurs in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) thus depend on their own resources of human capital and abilities of social capital to acquire tacit knowledge. Both specific and general human capitals facilitate Chinese entrepreneurs' acquisition of tacit marketing knowledge. With a strong awareness of the low level of institutional trust in the current transition economy, Chinese entrepreneurs develop the interpersonal trusting relationship to gain social support. Through the trust and trustworthiness, the quality of relationships in business networks creates the personal relational resource for tacit knowledge reciprocity. Originality/value – This paper fills the gap in the literature by identifying critical intervening components of human and social capitals in the entrepreneurship process in China's emerging market knowledge which have previously remained untouched. The key issues of how Chinese entrepreneurs of private SMEs initially acquire knowledge‐based resources to operate their businesses are critically proposed.
Journal of Chinese Entrepreneurship – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 8, 2009
Keywords: Tacit knowledge; Marketing; Social capital; Human capital; Entrepreneurs; China
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