The American Marketing Association Entrepreneurial Marketing Special Interest Group has selected the article "Social Capital, Knowledge Acquisition, and Knowledge Exploitation in Young Technology-Based Firms (Strategic Management Journal (2001) vol. 22: 587-613) by Helena Yli-Renko, Erkko Autio, and Harry J. Sapienza for the 2010 Gerry Hills Best Paper Award. The article has led to a research stream on the role of young firms' key customers/partners that includes a JM article and has 209 SSCI citations and 510 Google scholar citations to date. Professor Yli-Renko accepted the prize on behalf of her co-authors at the AMA meeting in Boston this past weekend.
More specifically, this article influenced the emergence of a stream of research on young firms' dominant customers/exchange partners. Entrepreneurial firms' external relationships have a significant and long-lasting impact on the behavior, survival, and success of the firm. While some of these external relationships such as those with investors or alliance partners have received significant scholarly attention, much less is still today known about the outcomes of customer relationships in a young firm context. This is surprising, given that customer relationships are at the core of a firm's value-adding purpose. The nominated article played a key role in originating a stream of research on entrepreneurial firms' relationships with key customers and other dominant exchange partners. Some subsequent articles in this stream have included, e.g., Fischer & Reuber (2004), Reuber & Fischer (2005), Yli-Renko & Janakiraman (2008), De Clercq & Rangarajan (2008).
Gerald E. Hills is widely recognized for his research and expertise in entrepreneurial marketing, especially for his work on opportunity recognition. The Gerald E. Hills Award Best Paper on Entrepreneurial Marketing award is presented annually to the author(s) of the "best paper" who have made a significant impact on entrepreneurial marketing research. The domain of nominated articles would be papers published in the previous 10 years in any refereed publication, as long as the article significantly influenced the direction of the entrepreneurial marketing literature.