Networking for the Environment: The Impact of Environmental Orientation on Start-ups’ Networking Frequency and Network Size

Petra Dickel, Jacob Hörisch, Thomas Ritter

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Although the public debate on the environmental orientation of firms has intensified, there is a lack of understanding about the consequences of that orientation, especially in terms of its impact on firms' networking behavior. In order to fill this gap, this paper analyzes the impact of external and internal environmental orientation on start-ups’ network characteristics, because networks are both vital for the success of start-ups and resource demanding. More specifically, the effects of environmental orientation on networking frequency and network size among start-ups are analyzed. Empirical data from 248 technology-based start-ups shows that those firms with a strong external environmental orientation have significantly higher networking frequencies and build larger networks. Conversely, a strong internal environmental orientation is linked to smaller networks. Thus, the results highlight the relevance of differentiating between the external and internal environmental orientation of start-ups because both concepts can have very different effects. From a practitioner perspective, the results have important implications with regard to the resources required for networking and the opportunities and barriers that tend to accompany internal and external environmental orientations
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Pages (from-to)308-316
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Business network
  • Ecopreneurship
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Environmental orientation
  • Start-up
  • Sustainability

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