Social capital of young technology firms and their IPO values: The complementary role of relevant absorptive capacity

Guiyang Xiong, Sundar Bharadwaj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


The strategic importance of business-to-business (B2B) relationships is well recognized, but their financial impact remains equivocal. This study links social capital from three types of B2B networks of young technology firms with their initial public offering (IPO) value. The authors identify three relevant types of absorptive capacity that facilitate the transformation of B2B social capital into IPO value. For the transformation to occur, the authors find that young firms need not only the opportunity to access the resources provided by B2B relationships but also the ability to leverage them through the complementary capability-namely, absorptive capacity. They test the hypotheses on a sample of 177 IPOs, and the results are robust to endogeneity concerns and alternative measures. As one of the first studies in marketing-finance interface to focus on young firms, the findings provide novel insights, such as the deleterious financial consequence of having marketing and research-and- development B2B relationships without the relevant absorptive capacity. The authors conclude with a discussion of managerial implications regarding communicating the value of absorptive capacity, disclosure of marketing-related information, and the importance of marketing for young technology firms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-104
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Marketing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Absorptive capacity
  • Business-to-business relationships
  • Initial public offering value
  • Marketing-finance interface
  • Social capital
  • Stochastic frontier estimation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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