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Mette Søgaard Nielsen

Associate Professor
Department of Entrepreneurship and Relationship Management

Phone: +4565501479

What are your research interests?
Overall, I am interested in how entrepreneurs use and are influenced by the social networks they are embedded in, and I pursue this interest by studying different types of exchanges in terms of social support both offline and online in various ways. An important part of this is my focus on role-relations, individual social skills and different contexts of social exchange as these all have important influences on the motivations and consequences of support to entrepreneurs. I am also very interested in how entrepreneurs and their actions are influenced by different types of emotions, and how these emotions originate from social network influences, i.e., the consequences as well as the antecedents of emotions during the entrepreneurial process. This allows me to study very different types of emotions such as fear, anxiety and passion and follow how different emotions influence especially the mental well-being of entrepreneurs.  

How did you become interested in your field of research?
I had the opportunity to work closely with entrepreneurs during my studies, and it has always fascinated me to see how some people choose to defy uncertainty and throw themselves into new projects. It also early on became clear to me that being an entrepreneur is not a solo journey, and the people surrounding entrepreneurs have great influences on the entrepreneurial journey – both intentionally and unconsciously. This sparked my interest in the positive as well as negative sides of entrepreneurs’ social networks.
What research question would you above all like to find the answer to? And why is that?
For me, it is essential to continually understand the link between social network influences and entrepreneurial behaviour. In doing so, I constantly seek new ways to find out how social support, unfolds, functions, and impacts entrepreneurs in different contexts and depending on different personal characteristics and abilities. As society evolves, people interact in new ways, and this brings up new opportunities and challenges for the link between entrepreneurs’ social network and entrepreneurial behaviour. Therefore, it is also essential to keep finding new ways to study social relations and their impact on entrepreneurs, especially when many exchanges move online. 

Which impact do you expect the Talent Track will have on your career and on your research field in general?
I am very grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Talent Track program. By allowing me to dedicate more time to do research during the next three years, the Talent Track gives me a unique opportunity to immerse myself in my newly started project funded by the Carlsberg Foundation focusing on entrepreneurs’ support exchanges on online social media. The strong network, mentoring and opportunities connected to the Talent Track will undoubtedly help me in realizing the full potential of the project and prepare me for future grant applications related hereto. 

The project is expected to advance current theoretical understandings of entrepreneurs' network by proposing a new research agenda, where online exchanges are seen as significantly different than offline exchanges of social support, and where increased attention is given to the new types of skills required in online interactions. 
Which impact do you expect your research to have on the surrounding society?  
Understanding the mechanisms of entrepreneurs’ social networks and entrepreneurial behavior is important for continued entrepreneurial activity. Efforts to improve conditions for entrepreneurs as well as their mental well-being is of vital importance for the development and sustainability of entrepreneurs in society long-term. My research attempts to offer insights into the antecedents of entrepreneurs' behavior and mental well-being and the influence on performance of entrepreneurs exposed to various types of social support - both positive and negative. More importantly, my research focuses on how entrepreneurs can cope mentally and perform economically when facing new challenges from their support exchanges – online as well as offline. This understanding is important for firm survival rates, growth, and development of society.