Paper Listings

FoundingTeamFormationPathways: Assessing the Joint Evolution of Founding Team and Business Types

Joint work with: David Clough, Charles Eesley, Bala Vissa

Abstract: Entrepreneurs often search for both business ideas and potential cofounders at the same time, and these two processes can influence each other. Founding teams can form through either a gradual process of cofounder additions—which we label a sequential team formation process—or cofounders can join forces in a single event, which we label a simultaneous team formation process. In this empirical study of entrepreneurial team formation and strategy formation, we analyze two configurations as founding process pathways: an instrumental pathway, which includes a sequential team formation process, a high-technology business idea, and a flexible approach to strategy formation; and a serendipitous pathway, which includes a simultaneous team formation process, a low-technology business idea, and an inflexible approach to strategy formation. Using alumni survey data, we find that elements of these two pathways are mutually complementary: for high-tech ventures with flexible strategies, sequential team formation is associated with a larger founding team size and better long-run venture outcomes. And for low-tech ventures with inflexible strategies, simultaneous team formation is associated with better outcomes. The results suggest that the way in which a founding team is formed and the approach to strategy formation can have significant and interdependent implications for the success of a venture.

The Refugee Entrepreneur’s Venture Formation: Processes & Dilemmas

Joint work with Medhanie Gaim, Charles Eesley

Abstract: Liability of foreignness (LOF) refers to the challenges that firms and individuals face when operating in unfamiliar territory. Studies have traditionally focused on the challenges faced by multinational enterprises, however, recent research has begun to focus on the ways in which individuals are affected by LOF. This study aims to understand how the unique challenges faced by refugees such as involuntary relocation, lack of preparation, and difficult circumstances in which they find themselves affect the process of venture formation and performance of refugee entrepreneurs. Assumptions and perspectives based on immigrants or expatriates are not relevant to refugee entrepreneurs, and that once dislocated, refugees' skills and capabilities may have low context relevance, making it difficult for them to apply the same knowledge or capability effectively in the new context. Furthermore, the disruption in their social capital and learning makes it harder for them to transfer their past knowledge and social capital into the new context. Our results suggest that refugees with higher integration work on higher quality ideas. While the results are not conclusive, we also find some support that adding local partners lead to improved idea quality in teams.

Opportunity Specificity and Team Formation Strategy: Evidence From Randomized Field Experiment

Joint work with Charles Eesley

Abstract: Entrepreneurial ventures are fundamentally shaped by two key processes: team formation and opportunity recognition. Although these components have been the focus of substantial research independently, the interplay between them during the early stages of venture creation remains largely unexplored. This research addresses this gap by investigating the varying team formation strategies of entrepreneurs, with a particular emphasis on scenarios where a specific business opportunity has been identified. A Randomized Control Trial (RCT) conducted within a Massive Open Online Course in entrepreneurship offers insights into how the clarity of a business opportunity influences the team formation strategy. This study seeks to enhance our understanding of the interconnected dynamics of opportunity recognition and team formation in entrepreneurship, underlining the interaction between team formation strategies and the unfolding of opportunities. By addressing this knowledge gap, our research aims to provide practical guidance for entrepreneurs and contribute significantly to the existing body of literature.

Young Firms’ Alliance Strategy During the Global Financial Crisis: Exploratory vs. Exploitative Alliance Formation Across Domains

Joint work with JungYun Han, Charles Eesley

Abstract: How do young firms respond to economic crises in selecting alliance types? Existing alliance literature suggests two opposite predictions facing environmental changes: forging alliances with new partners/discovering new knowledge (exploration) vs. repeating alliances with existing partners/elaborating the current business (exploitation). To reconcile the arguments, we investigate firms’ alliance choices (in function and structure domains) facing economic crises involving both extremely high environmental uncertainty and low munificence. Using the entire U.S. firms’ alliance data 2004-2012, we find that a financial crisis facilitates firms’ function exploration (forming more R&D alliances) while pursuing structure exploitation (repeating existing partnerships) in general. Furthermore, young firms seek more R&D alliances while avoiding allying with existing partners (i.e., young firms actively seek exploration by forming more R&D alliances and alliances with new partners) compared to old firms. Our study reveals the novel mechanisms involved in selecting alliance types depending on the extreme environmental conditions and firm age.

Initial Public Offerings (IPOs): A Stakeholder Approach

Joint work with Willow Wu, Tyler Whittle, Charles Eesley

Abstract: Recent work in stakeholder theory has called for research to consider the complexity of multiple stakeholder relationships. Our study seeks to answer this call by asking whether a new salient stakeholder can affect existing stakeholders. We investigate this question in the context of initial public offerings, asking how the introduction of public shareholders affects employees. We draw upon literature in organizational justice and hypothesize that employees will perceive lower levels of organizational justice post-IPO. Utilizing techniques in natural language processing and sentiment analysis, we test our hypotheses with data from We find that going public is associated with a decline in the perception of procedural and interactional justice. Furthermore, this change in justice mediates the post-IPO decline in employee satisfaction. Overall, our study takes empirical steps towards understanding how new stakeholders can impact existing stakeholders.