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Table of contents
Overview of the module ………………………………………………………………………………………….4
Module outline ………………………………………………………………………………………………………9
Assessment structure …………………………………………………………………………………………..11
Individual Reflective Essay (100%)……………………………………………………………………..11
Required/Suggested reading texts………………………………………………………………………….15
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Overview of the module
Networking is at the heart of being entrepreneurial – whether this is entrepreneurial in your
career choice, starting a new venture, or being entrepreneurial within an existing organization. As the old saying goes “it’s not what you know but who you know that counts” – getting to know people and making connections is essential to form and refine new ideas and
to identify new opportunities. Very few (if any!) projects or businesses come about in isolation; they are all developed through the exchange of ideas and knowledge between people. This is the reason why networking, and building relationships with others, is important.
This module focuses on two aspects: networks and networking. Both aspects are underpinned by academic research on networks for entrepreneurship.
Networks: this aspect of the module content focuses on what we mean by a ‘social network’ and how do we ascertain what our networks of connections (or relationships) look
like and how we might be able to engage with them to get things done in more efficient
ways. It also provides an insight into how you can analyse the value of your network and
the role you play within your network. Drawing on a variety of concepts from the entrepreneurship literature (and wider literature on social networks), this part of the module will also challenge you to think more critically about the content and structure of your network.
Networking: Drawing on a variety of ideas from the entrepreneurship literature on the importance of networking for entrepreneurship, as well as aspects from the psychology literature on building relationships with others, this aspect of the module will also challenge you
to think more critically about your own approach to networking and building relationships,
and how through practice you can become more reflexive about your own skills, experience, assumptions and underlying principles as you engage in networking and relationship
Overview of pedagogy underpinning ENSI214 (skills module)
ENSI214 Networking for entrepreneurship is what we have termed a ‘skills module’. This
module will be different to other modules that you have studied and for a number of different reasons.
The approach to teaching entrepreneurship is based on pedagogies for entrepreneurship
education that are used on leading entrepreneurship programmes, and are commonly
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used on MBA and executive programmes. In order to get the most from the module, you
need to engage in higher levels of learning that go beyond knowing and understanding key
concepts. This entails being able to demonstrate understanding of the key concepts
through reflecting on your experiences of networks and networking.
The model of learning on the module thus focuses on learning as socially situated, and
developed through practice and self-reflection. The lecture content of the module will introduce you to key ideas on networks and networking, but the content of learning and understanding will be through applying these ideas to your own experiences – to both reflect on
your networking experiences and behaviours, and also to be reflexive about your actions
The purpose of this design of module, which fits into our ‘skills modules’ is that knowing
models and ideas around networking is not enough to develop skills and to become more
entrepreneurial. Developing skills and confidence in networking requires engagement in
networking activities and reflecting on those activities, both within the classroom and outside the classroom. These skills will form part of your life-long learning whether in the future you wish to start a business, to develop a new project, or to carry out a job that you
have been given.
How this module works
We have designed the module around five hours of lecture material and five hours of
workshop activities. The lecture material will encompass a range of different ideas on networks and networking, as well as each week (weeks 2-4) drawing on a particular aspect
from the psychology literature that relates to relationship building.
What we need from you: to be open minded and ready to ‘learn’ – learning to learn can be
a difficult skill to acquire, requiring an open mind, a good understanding of the self, and
openness to reflection. It will be very different to other modules you have studied so far.
IMPORTANT: One of the important aspects of networking is that it is a personal and subjective experience. Some of you will feel that you are more confident in networking, others
will be less confident – what is important is that you learn something important to you as
learning is also a subjective experience – we all have different experiences, skills,
knowledge, etc. At the same time, it is also important to share your experiences and work
in a collegiate way with your colleagues during the module. We want this to be an inclusive
environment where no matter how confident you feel in your networking, you are able to
practice those skills in the knowledge that it will be a supportive environment. The module
is not designed to reward you based on your confidence or your ability to network. The
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module is designed to reward you based on how you reflect in an honest way on your own
strengths and weaknesses in networking and building relationships.
How can you get the most out of this module? (your learning agreement)
- Engage with the lecture material, participate in activities through attending workshops – it is the only way to learn on this module as it is about practice and learning
- Engage fully in the activities in the workshops and in discussions with your peers
and with your workshop convenor
- It is not about how good you are at networking (everyone has strengths and weaknesses) – it is about developing self-understanding which will enable you to more
effectively reflect on your own strengths and weaknesses
- Engage with the literature – we provide an extensive reference list and for higher
marks in the reflective essay (Q1) we will expect engagement with this literature
and for you to demonstrate an understanding of that literature through reflection
(you cannot reflect without understanding the ideas first)
- Work on your skills in reflecting on (and being reflexive about) your own practice –
this is a key life skill (and is the basis for essay question 2)
- Keep a diary of your own thoughts and ideas over the 5 weeks as you engage in
networking activities, both within the module and outside. This will come in very
handy when answering the essay questions.
On successful completion of this module you will be able to:
• Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of social networks
• Demonstrate the value of networks for entrepreneurs
• Understand and reflect on your own skills and strengths in building and maintaining
• Analyse and reflect on the content and structure of your existing networks
• Reflect on your own strengths and weaknesses in networking
• Demonstrate an understanding of and be able to apply key concepts and ideas from
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Skills associated with module:
Specifically, the module aims to develop skills and understanding in the following areas:
• To develop a deeper appreciation of activities of networking that are transferable to
• To develop self-awareness of your networking activities, as well as understanding
more about your own strengths and weaknesses in networking
• To provide a foundation for you to be more self-reflective about your own practice in
networking and developing your networks to get things done
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Michaelmas Term, Weeks 1-5 (and Weeks 2-6 for workshops)
Week 1 Lecture – an introduction to the module, networks and networking
Weeks 2-4: Lectures on a variety of topics around networks and networking
Week 5: There will be a panel session with our entrepreneurs in residence, plus additional
hints and tips for the essay questions
Workshops (NOTE: workshops will run weeks 2-6):
A series of activities designed to practice networking and to think about and reflect on networking.
Attendance will be monitored. It is essential that you engage will all recorded material, as
well as attend all 5 workshops on the module.
The pedagogy upon which the module is based foregrounds the importance of actions,
activities and reflection (i.e. learning by doing). Although you will not be asked to conduct
specific reading prior to any of the lectures, you will be expected to conduct your own wider reading to enable you to further understand the importance of networks and networking
for entrepreneurship – this is essential for the assessment as you will be expected to
demonstrate wider reading (especially Q1) alongside reflecting on your own experiences.
There is a Leganto reading list available on Moodle (see “Reading List” in the general information section)
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Wk Topic Knowledge Skills & reflection Self – reflection
- Networks and networking for entrepreneurship
- Value of network ties
- Networking for creativity and entrepreneurship
- Introductory networking practice
- Preparing for networking
- How comfortable you are
with networking with people you know / don’t know
your networks & key
- Strength of ties
- Structural holes
- Analysis of value
- Analysis of network structure and
- DISC profile and link to
networking – understanding yourself and others
- Social capital
- Analysis of reciprocity and trust
- Building trustful
- Johari window – revealing
the self for better communications and for building
stronger relationships with
- Types of network –
instrumental, exchange and trust
- Power of LinkedIn
- Networking and social media
- Managing network
- Networking via
- Argyris’s Ladder of Inference: reflecting on your
own assumptions when
working with others
- Practical knowledge
(wisdom) – essays
- Working with ideas
from the literature
to develop your
own reflections –
- For essay questions
Week 1: Networks and networking for entrepreneurship: an introduction
In the first week, you will firstly be introduced to the module, the underlying pedagogy of
our ‘skills modules’, the structure of the module, as well as an overview of the assessment.
In this week, we will also begin our exploration into networks and networking, exploring the
challenges and advantages of a social networking approach to understanding of entrepreneurship, as well as the important link between entrepreneurship and collaborative creativity. There will also be tasks which are designed to develop skills in networking, at the
same time as introducing self-understanding and self-reflection.
Week 2: Analysing your networks & key concepts
You will be introduced to key concepts from the literature that provides an insight into the
ways in which we are able to distinguish characteristics of network ties. In addition, this
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leads to a more fruitful understanding how different ties contribute in their own ways to enabling or constraining entrepreneurial activities. You will also use these characteristics to
understand more about the make-up of your own networks and how they might enable or
constrain your own activities.
Week 3: Building networks
Having understood the characteristics of network ties, you will now be presented within an
insight into notions of reciprocity, social capital and trust and how these underpin forms of
network tie. You will also further analyse your networks and reflect on the ways in which
those networks enable or constrain your own future goals.
Week 4: Maintaining and managing networks
In this week we will look further into network governance and how different types of network can both facilitate as well as limit the possibilities for entrepreneurial actions. You will
learn more about the role of social media and how this can facilitate (as well as constrain)
possibilities for building relationships) and how the internet creates new challenges and
opportunities for maintaining network ties.
Week 5: Networking: reflection and practice
The focus this week will be on practice (a panel session with EiRs) and essays and being
reflective around key concepts and ideas from the literature.
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Assessment is 100% individual reflective essay and you will be required to answer two
questions as part of this essay.
All essays should be anonymised before submitting to Moodle to enable anonymised
marking, i.e. please do not include your name anywhere in the document, you may include
your library card number.
Element Weight Individual / Group based
Reflective Essay 100%: Q1 (75%) Q2 (25%) Individual
Individual Reflective Essay (100%)
One 2000-word reflective essay made up of 2 questions with 1500 words for Q1 and 500
words for Q2 (both word counts are +/- 10%). Q1 and Q2 are together worth 100% of the
total marks for the module, 75% of those marks will be for Q1 and 25% for question 2.
Questions – answer 1a OR 1b AND answer question 2 (both questions should be clearly
marked in one submitted document):
QUESTION ONE – answer one of the following questions (1a or 1b):
The purpose of Q1 is provide an opportunity for you to demonstrate your knowledge of: a)
the importance of networks / networking, b) key concepts from the literature, alongside c)
reflecting on your own experiences in networking, both on the module as well as through
your own activities. To get a good mark in this essay you need to take a critical stance in
your essay, to unpack the complexities of these statements, and to use both the literature
and examples well to support this complexity. Weaker essays often rely solely on confirmatory examples and literature, rather than opening complexity – remember, the world is
complex, not simple.
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1a) Sorenson (2018: p. 530) states: “social relationships also play another important role
here: they contribute to satisfaction with life. People enjoy spending time with family and
friends. The potential to spend more time with them will therefore often influence the
choices of entrepreneurs—of what types of businesses to start, of whom to hire, and of
where to locate”. Critically discuss the importance of social relationships in making key
choices in your own lives (particularly choices which have elements of ‘entrepreneurship’
(in its broadest sense)). Ensure you refer to literature on the importance of networks for
key entrepreneurship decisions (1500 words (+/- 10%))
(See: Sorenson, O. (2018). Social networks and the geography of entrepreneurship. Small Business Economics, 51(3), 527-537; this is a starting point only, you need to read sufficient articles in
this area in order to gain higher marks)
1b) Entrepreneurial networks are thought to play an important role in entrepreneurial activities where place plays an important role in those activities (e.g. the creation of a place as a
tourist destination, or the importance of places for artisan entrepreneurship such as crafts
or food). Critically discuss the importance of entrepreneurial networks for an entrepreneurial activity that is connected to a place of your choice, using examples from your own experiences to support your discussion. (1500 words (+/- 10%))
(See for example (there are many more articles that will be useful to develop your discussion): Bakas, F. E.,
Duxbury, N., & de Castro, T. V. (2019). Creative tourism: Catalysing artisan entrepreneur networks in rural
Portugal. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research.; Zhou, L., Cheng, X., Wall, G., &
Zhang, D. (2020). Entrepreneurial networks in creative tourism place-making: Dali village, Wuhan, China. Tourism Geographies, 1-23.)
For Question 1a or 1b, you should reference academic sources to ground your discussion
and you should provide a full reference list of your citations.
- Building upon one of the tools discussed in the module (DISC, Johari window or Ladder
of Inference) identify one area that you wish to improve to develop your networking skills.
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Explain the weakness you have identified through one of the tools, and explain how you
will aim to develop skills in that area for the future (500 words (+/- 10%))
- For question 2, you do not need to provide a full reference list, other than citing the
concept(s) that you draw upon.
The purpose of Q2 is to provide an opportunity for you to demonstrate a planned learning
journey where you reflect on your current experiences, and explore how you will aim to
change your existing practices (i.e. elements of reflexivity).
YOU MUST SUBMIT YOUR ANSWERS TO BOTH QUESTIONS IN ONE DOCUMENT
(AND ONE DOCUMENT ONLY), WITH EACH QUESTION CLEARLY MARKED. ALL
SUBMISSIONS NEED TO BE ANONYMISED.
Submission of two documents will lead to only Q1a/b or Q2 being marked
Deadline: Monday Week 7 (22nd November) at 12pm (midday)
Submission: Online only through Moodle
All submissions must be anonymised – you should not include your name anywhere on the
ALL SUBMISSIONS WILL BE SUBJECT TO TURNITIN CHECKING FOR PLAGIARISM
Failure to submit your assessment will incur late penalties as per University guidelines,
non-submission will be awarded a mark of 0 (zero).
What is a reflective essay?
Rather than your essay focusing on a review of the literature about a particular topic, the
focus of a reflective essay on ENSI214 is on your own experience in networking. Question
1 requires you to draw on literature and to demonstrate an understanding of that literature
through reflecting on your own experience so far in developing your networks. For this
question you should therefore draw on the academic literature in the area specific to the
question and to then use your understanding of the literature to draw on your own experi-
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ence – in particular you must critically reflect on the breadth and depth of your existing
networks and your experience to-date of networking – in relation to ensuring that you address the question that is set. For question 2, the focus is on being more reflexive about
your own skills and experience in networking and being able to identify an area in which
you want to improve for the future.
Important notes: Appropriate referencing – for Question 1: please follow carefully the assignment guidelines above particularly with regard to acknowledging your sources correctly. We strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with Lancaster University’s plagiarism framework. Assignments will be checked for plagiarism using specialised software embedded in Moodle.
Objectives of the assignment
• An ability to apply key concepts and ideas from the literature
• To demonstrate an ability to critically reflect on your own practice in networking
• To demonstrate an ability to reflect on your own strengths and weaknesses in building
and maintaining your networks, as well as in understanding areas which you might look
• To demonstrate an understanding of the importance of networks for your future career
Grade Essay Q1a or Q1b Essay Q2
In-depth demonstration of a critical reflection
of your networks/networking relating to the
Excellent links to relevant literature which
demonstrates a good understanding of key
concepts. Including critical reflection on key
concepts (grounded in the literature). Evidence of wider reading.
Excellent presentation of your discussion,
with clearly laid out paragraphs and discussion.
Demonstrates an excellent ability
to reflect on how you may look to
change your existing practices.
Demonstrates a clear link between your own reflection and the
tool that you use to identify an
area to improve.
A well thought through answer
that is clearly focused on one area.
Some critical reflection of your networks /
networking relating to the question, but lackDemonstrates an insight into reflection on how you might change
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ing depth of discussion.
Some links to the literature and some
demonstration of understanding of the key
concepts which demonstrate limited wider
your existing practices.
A link is made between your reflections and the tool you draw
upon to identify your area of
Clarity and focus is good, but not
Some, but limited, critical reflection of your
networks / networking relating to the question.
Some links to the literature, but rarely beyond what was included in the lecture
slides. Little evidence of wider reading.
Demonstrates an insight into how
you might change your practices,
but lacks depth and focus.
Very limited critical reflection on your own
networks / networking relating to the reflective essay question.
Only generic links to the literature and key
concepts, limited demonstration of
knowledge of those concepts, limited links
to your own experience.
Limited demonstration of how you
might change your practice in the
Without either a clear focus or no
Link to the tool is not clear
F 1-4 F1 – Either no critical reflection or no links to
the literature. Generic discussion on networks/networking that is not grounded in
any literature. Demonstrates very little understanding of topics covered on the module. Limited answering of the question.
F4 – does not address the question at hand,
no links to the ideas / concepts / topics on
F1 – No clear focus to the discussion and no depth, difficult to pinpoint aspects of practice you
might look to change.
F4 – does not address the question and no demonstration of being reflective about how you might
change your practices.
Required/Suggested reading texts
Core Text: There is no core text for this module.
See the Leganto Reading list for suggested reading (available on Moodle under “Reading
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