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Many new product innovations are attributed to new venture creation. Although there are many success cases, many new ventures quit before they have fulfilled their greatest potential mainly because the team quits their effort. This research tries to delve into several factors that affect the dynamics of an entrepreneurial team along the different stages of the new venture creation process. Given such direction, primary data from 12 entrepreneurial teams are undertaken within an incubator environment, which is an underresearched context. An in-depth study of these entrepreneurial teams suggests numerous determinants (variation in the intentions and expectations, improper leadership, ineffective communication, engagement, team structure) to have a serious effect on team dynamics and team cohesiveness. Following a grounded theory approach, specific research propositions are formulated and theoretical insights are drawn. Moreover, the results of this research assist nascent entrepreneurs in assessing their potential, recognizing critical team dynamics, and basing their choice on moving to a sustainable new venture creation. Keywords entrepreneurial teams, start-up, nascent entrepreneurs, university incubator, new venture performance, team entrepreneurship, new venture teams, team cohesion in the past (Timmons, 1994), for many years the subject of Introduction entrepreneurship had been studied under the lens of the New venture creation plays a significant role in today’s econ- entrepreneur as a sole entity, as if one person only was omy because it accounts for a considerable portion of new responsible for the whole process of the venture creation product innovations. Despite many success stories, many (Gartner, Shaver, Gatewood, & Katz, 1994). It is only about new ventures fail before they have fulfilled their highest the past 10 years that some researchers have started to select favorable outcome. These ventures are constantly confronted the entrepreneurial team as their unit of analysis (for an with diverse challenges deriving from uncertainties, volatili- extensive review, see Klotz & Bolino, 2013), and this is also ties, and complexities. It is becoming increasingly important the case for this research. to identify the factors that can lead these new ventures to Within this context, superseding the myth of the “lonely expected viability, sustainability, and cohesiveness. An hero entrepreneur” (Gartner et al., 1994) and shifting atten- entrepreneurial team rather than a single entrepreneur tion to the “collective nature of entrepreneurship”, this appears to deal more successfully with such challenges research attempts to study the dynamics of entrepreneurial (Cooney, 2005; Visintin & Pittino, 2014; West, 2007) given teams as they evolve through the new venture creation pro- that its members contribute complementary skills, compe- cess. Team research has interchangeably used many different tencies, and experiences. Thus, entrepreneurial teams are regarded as the major catalyst of new venture creation (Cooper & Daily, 1997) and touted to be “the superior entre- Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece preneurial start-up concept” (Carland & Carland, 2012; Corresponding Author: Lechler, 2001). While Beckman (2006) found that “90% of Elli Diakanastasi, Athens University of Economics and Business, Patision the new ventures start as teams—not as solo entrepre- 76, Athens 104 34, Greece. neurs”—and the importance of the team has been pointed out Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Creative Commons CC BY: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage). 2 SAGE Open terms to describe the teams of new endeavors, such as entre- established or before it is founded at all, not fulfilling its preneurial teams, founding teams, new venture teams, new commercial promise (Korunka, Frank, Lueger, & Mugler, product development teams, or start-up teams. In view of the 2003). This can be considered as an understudied context of plentiful of definitions, we adopt the term entrepreneurial teams (Phan, Siegel, & Wright, 2005). According to Leary team as given by Schjoedt and Kraus (2009) who describe an and DeVaughn (2009) prior research has focused on either entrepreneurial team as teams that have been successful or teams that have failed. In this article, team dynamics and their factors are being exam- two or more persons who have an interest, both financial and ined in the first stages of the new venture creation process. otherwise, and commitment to a venture’s future and success; This examination is based on primary data of a university whose work is interdependent in the pursuit of common goals incubator. In addition, although Honig and Karlsson (2007) and venture success; who are considered to be at the executive argue that the relationship between an entrepreneurial team level with executive responsibility in the early phases of the and the incubator’s managerial team are not usually present, venture, including founding and pre-start-up; and who are seen in this study the entrepreneurial teams have strong relation- as a social entity by themselves and by others. ships with the managerial team. These tight relationships are related to the coaching and personal development of the Dwelling on this definition, the attention is given on the team entrepreneurial teams and thus to the team dynamics and as being a social bond and is much more than a simple aggre- cohesiveness, making the specific incubation context a gation of individuals that work together. Identifying the fac- meaningful field to study the entrepreneurial dynamics tors that affect the team dynamics along the different stages (Ensleya & Hmieleskib, 2005; Phan et al., 2005). of the new venture creation process and understanding posi- The goal of this research is therefore to explore the vari- tive and negative outcomes for the team cohesiveness is ous factors that influence the dynamics of an entrepreneurial therefore the starting point for this research. team along the different stages of the new venture creation There is a significant number of researchers who have process (from the initial idea and establishing a minimum reported relationships between factors related to team mem- viable product till having the first revenues or quitting the ber traits and firm results (such as profitability, revenue endeavor). growth; Amason, 1996; Bantel & Jackson, 1989; Hambrick To address the above objective and given the premature & D’Aveni, 1992; Judge & Miller, 1991; Keck, 1997; Michel level of research in entrepreneurial team dynamics, we have & Hambrick, 1992; Murray, 1989; Weirsema & Bantel, adopted a grounded theory perspective, as it is suitable for 1992). However, all these contributions draw upon the strate- research in areas where theory is not yet well developed. gic management literature and adopt the so-called upper ech- Moreover, this approach is ideal for answering the “how” elon perspective that provides the relationships between the and “why” questions, allowing for a richer knowledge of characteristics and actions of top management teams and nonconceptualized issues. Given such direction, primary firm performance. Indeed, there are limited studies that focus data are undertaken that cover 12 entrepreneurial teams com- on the new venture framework. ing from the same incubator. An in-depth analysis of the There are various motivations for choosing the new ven- team dynamics and their factors through the new venture cre- ture context as an exceptional and significant framework to ation process was performed. As a result, this article presents study teams. For beginning, it differs significantly from the an effort to assist nascent entrepreneurs in evaluating their upper echelon because the role of the founder is overly more potential, identifying the factors that influence team dynam- critical to the new venture cohesiveness than the role of the ics and backing their choice on moving to a creation of a managers in a well-established large organization. Indeed, sustainable new venture. while the bulk of top management team research has been conducted on existing large firms, primarily because of the Existing Studies availability of secondary data, the richest and most interest- ing studies are likely to involve primary data of new ventures The research area of entrepreneurial teams is increasingly (Ensley, Pearson, & Amason, 2002). In this study, we seek to becoming a central focus and an essential interdisciplinary extend theory based on primary data of new ventures. In area of enquiry (Grichnik & Harms, 2007; Ratinho, Harms, addition, as we are interested in studying entrepreneurial & Walsh, 2015) relying on contributions from the entrepre- teams as a social unity, the new venture context is appropri- neurship literature, social-psychology, and strategic manage- ate as it is characterized by social circumstances in which ment. Because entrepreneurial teams establish the majority there are hardly any well-established norms, precedent, or of start-ups (Knapp, Breitenecker, & Khan, 2015; Ulhøi, inertia upon which new ventures can rely. 2005), they deserve special attention as the unit of analysis. Taking a step forward, the second contextual implication However, there is considerable debate regarding the concep- is that we focus on entrepreneurial teams that are tenants of a tion of an entrepreneurial team and no definition has been university incubator, directing attention to the nascent entre- widely accepted yet. According to Robbins and Judge (2008), preneurship context; meaning, before the new venture is well “an entrepreneurial team is two or more individuals, Diakanastasi et al. 3 interacting and interdependent, who have come together to and firm-level outcomes (e.g., revenue, profitability, growth). achieve particular objectives.” However, based on Cooper This, however, has led to “the exclusion of critical mediating and Daily (1997), the entrepreneurial team is not just any mechanisms and moderating” factors (Barrick, Bradley, group of people. They must have a common target and act for Kristof-Brown, & Colbert, 2007; Ilgen, Hollenbeck, Johnson, the best interest of the new venture. Another close definition & Jundt, 2005; Smith et al., 1994). This restrain partially stems is that of the new venture team as given by Klotz and Bolino from the fact that entrepreneurship academics have favored to (2013) who describe “the group of individuals that is chiefly emulate strategic management researchers by stressing main responsible for the strategic decision making and ongoing effects from secondary data to examine team-level phenomena. operations of a new venture.” For the purpose of this article, The examination of team-level mediating mechanisms, how- and adding to the definition of Schjoedt and Kraus (2009), ever, typically requires the collection and analysis of primary whenever we mention the term “entrepreneurial team” we data. mean an entrepreneurial team of people who have started the Despite its importance, the phenomenon of entrepreneur- procedure of founding a start-up enterprise and these are ial team dynamics lags behind in terms of research devoted nascent entrepreneurs. to it (Klotz, Hmieleski, Bradley, & Busenitz, 2014). Existing research, first, focuses on new venture teams within a firm Nascent entrepreneurs are defined as persons who are in the context (Hambrick, 2007) and, second, suggests that the way startup process of their planned ventures, beginning with initial in which entrepreneurial team members work together plays startup activities, such as contact with a startup advising center an important role in determining venture outcomes or bank, development of a business plan, and so forth, and ends (Chowdhury, 2005; Ensley & Pearce, 2001; Ensley, Pearson, before market entry (realizing the first revenues). (Korunka & Pearce, 2003; Kamm & Nurick, 1993; Kamm, Shuman, et al., 2003, p. 4) Seeger, & Nurick, 1990). However, the way several factors (e.g., communication, collaboration, team structure, motives) According to Schjoedt and Kraus (2009), entrepreneurial clout team dynamics and affect the new venture creation pro- teams have been studied from three perspectives: the exter- cess, have been studied in isolation. The result of the isolated nal environment, the entrepreneurial team composition, and studies has been guidance to entrepreneurs in one factor the entrepreneurial team process. The context of the external without considering how that factor might interact with environment is studied by Stam and Schutjens (2005) who another one. The starting point for this research is, therefore, claim that external resources may affect the growth of a new to explore several factors that will elicit a conversation venture. Wiklund and Shepherd (2005) examine the correla- among academics and entrepreneurs about how these factors tion between external factors and entrepreneurial orientation. may influence team dynamics through the new venture cre- We find the concept of the entrepreneurial team composition ation development. in Solansky, Beck, and Travis (2014) who discuss the role of Summarizing the above research gaps, the novel aspects stabilizing tensions in an entrepreneurial team which con- of this study refer to contextual insights, as the new venture sists of members from different enterprises. Mitchell et al. context can be regarded as a useful lens for extending the (2014) study interprofessional teams, while Zhou and Rosini upper echelon literature. Based on primary data of a univer- (2015) examine how team diversity may enhance entrepre- sity incubator, this research directs attention to the nascent neurial performance. entrepreneurship context; meaning before the new venture is In addition, there are many contributions regarding vari- well established or before it is founded at all. In addition, we ous factors that influence the way teams work together and look into alternative explanations of team performance and affect the new venture creation process. Baum et al. (2001) more specifically examine team cohesion as a predictor of highlight the importance of differences in the motivation in the team process and outcomes, which in turn shape more new venture performance. Pirola-Merlo, Hartel, Mann, and distal outcomes, such as firm sustainability and growth. Hirst (2002) argue that the different expectations of a team Our review on the publications about entrepreneurial team have a negative effect on the team’s climate. Zaccaro, dynamics illustrates that there is a growing body of literature Rittman, and Marks (2001) state the importance of effective that describes how various factors influence group dynamics leadership as a mainly emotional process. Bell (2007) as well within the new start-up creation process. However, the as Stewart (2006) have studied what is supposed to be the research area related to a holistic view of these factors within most competent number of individuals per team. Teece an entrepreneurial endeavor has not been addressed (Κlotz (2015) states that commitment can drastically increase per- et al., 2013). Table 1 summarizes the various topics related to formance. Poza and Messer (2001) agree that it is very pos- entrepreneurial team dynamics and the respective studies. sible that romantic relationship and running a business together will harm the business or the couple. Research Methodology A large body of previous research on entrepreneurship has sought to provide useful insights into relationships between top The research methodology relies on grounded theory (Glaser management team insights (e.g., team member characteristics) & Strauss, 2017), and thus the key purpose of such research 4 SAGE Open Table 1. Literature Related to Entrepreneurial Team Dynamics. Topic Contributions Entrepreneurial team definition Cooney (2005), Hambrick (1994), Robbins and Judge (2008), G. G. Cohen and Bailey (1997) Entrepreneurial teams as catalyst of new venture creation Cooper and Daily (1997) Cooney (2005), Visintin and Pittino (2014) Entrepreneurial research has focused on the individual Watson, Ponthieu, and Critelli (1995), Foo, Sin, and Yiong (2006), entrepreneur Baron (2007), Gartner, Shaver, Gatewood, and Katz (1994) The way in which entrepreneurial team members work Chowdhury (2005), Ensley and Pearce (2001), Ensley, Pearson, and together plays an important role in determining new Pearce (2003), Kamm and Nurick (1993), Kamm, Shuman, Seeger, venture results and Nurick (1990), Vanaelst et al. (2006) The way several factors (e.g., communication, collaboration, Ilgen, Hollenbeck, Johnson, and Jundt (2005), Barrick, Bradley, team structure, motives) influence team dynamics and Kristof-Brown, and Colbert (2007), Smith et al. (1994), Carpenter, affect the new venture creation process has not been Gelekanycz, and Sanders (2004) studied adequately enough Research has focused on either teams that have been Leary and DeVaughn (2009) successful or teams that have failed and study the period after the launch of the product In strategic management field, entrepreneurial team Hmieleski, Cole, and Baron (2012), Souitaris and Maestro (2010) dynamics have not been adequately studied Prior research mainly focuses on how experience, Mathieu, Maynard, Rapp, and Gilson (2008), McGrath (1964), Amason, educational background, and demographics affect team Shrader, and Tompson (2006), Beckman (2006), Lester, Meglino, outcomes and Koorsgaard (2002), Foo et al. (2006), R. Cohen (2008) Differences in the motives may lead to conflict Weiner (1989) Baum et al. (2001) Need for appropriate skills and background Leary and DeVaughn (2009), West (2007) Need for appropriate leadership Zaccaro, Rittman, and Marks (2001), George (2000), Foo et al. (2006) Communication as a prognosticator on team performance Cartwright and Zander (1968), McGrath (1984) Number of individuals per team Bell (2007), Stewart (2006) Commitment to the team Teece (2015), Staw (1976), Avolio, Luthans, and Walumbwa (2004) Existence of couple in the team Hilburt-Davis and Dyer (2003), James, James, and Ashe (1990), Poza and Messer (2001) How network affects the new venture team entrepreneurial Baron and Tang (2009), Ebbers (2014), Shaw (2006), Timmons and opportunities Spinelli (2008), Vaz and Nijkamp (2009), Brinckmann and Hoegl (2011) Study Entrepreneurial Team after their launch Foo et al. (2006), Hmieleski and Ensley (2007), Beckman, Burton, and O’Reilly (2007), Unger, Rauch, Frese, and Rosenbusch (2011) Entrepreneurial team conflict Ensley, Pearson, and Amason (2002), Mathieu et al. (2008), Jehn (1997), Silva et al. (2014), Enseley and Hmielsky (2005), Leary and DeVaughn (2009), Higashide and Birley (2002), Bourgeois and Eisenhardt (1988), Ensley and Pearce (2001) Team personality composition Zhou, Hu, and Shi (2015), Caliendo and Kritikos (2008), Bradley, Klotz, Postlethwaite, and Brown (2013) Team cohesion as an emerging subject in team literature Beal, Cohen, Burke, and McLendon (2003), Kozlowski and Ilgen (2006), Ilgen et al. (2005) Context of business incubators Hansen, Chesbrough, Nohria, and Sull (2000), Bøllingtoft (2012), Campbell (1989), Hackett and Dilts (2004) is to establish theory that is profoundly informed by primary In this regard, the access to the real new venture context data gathered through a qualitative, longitudinal field study through an incubation center brings richness and flexibility, within an incubator but also by drawing upon previous litera- making grounded theory a proven tool for achieving a deep ture. Grounded theory gained respect as it is suitable for understanding of the factors that influence team dynamics research in areas where it is critical to bring the researcher in within an entrepreneurial endeavor. Moreover, this approach proximity, both theoretically and physically, to the frame- is ideal for answering the “how” and “why” questions, allow- work of the underlying phenomenon, allowing for deeper ing for a richer knowledge of nonconceptualized issues and commitment with the social settings (Fendt & Sachs, 2008). where theory is not yet well developed. Diakanastasi et al. 5 Figure 1. Conducting grounded theory. Source. Adapted from Murphy, Klotz, and Kreiner (2017). Note. ET = entrepreneurial team. The objective of this research is to study the several fac- focus is defined in terms of the several factors that influence tors that induce the dynamics of an entrepreneurial team, as the dynamics of an entrepreneurial team and affect the team it evolves through the different stages of the new venture cre- cohesiveness through the different stages of the new venture ation process. When conducting the grounded theory creation process. The following questions are stated in broad research, several stages take place as depicted in Figure 1 terms: (adapted from Murphy, Klotz, & Kreiner, 2017): develop ini- tial research question, data collection (primary and second- •• What are the factors that influence the dynamics of an ary data), the coding process, searching for patterns, and entrepreneurial team? building of theory itself. In the following paragraphs, each •• How are these factors associated with the different stage is further elaborated. stages of the new venture creation process? •• What factors are important and how they affect the cohesiveness of the entrepreneurial team? The Research Question The first step in grounded theory is to form research ques- To formulate these questions, we conducted a minor litera- tions regarding the phenomenon under study in at least broad ture review that helped us identify potential research gaps in terms and typically a “blue sky or black box question” the fields of entrepreneurial team, social-psychology, and (Edmondson & McManus, 2007). In this regard, the research strategy management. However, consequent with the 6 SAGE Open Figure 2. Stages of the new venture creation process followed by the entrepreneurial teams. standards of grounded theory, these questions are primarily stages are based on the methodology used in the incubator, based on the researcher’s mind-set and may be refined once adapted from Churchill and Lewis (1983), who proposed the the data are collected. five stages of small business growth, and Blank (2013), who proposed the Four Steps to the Epiphany. As already men- tioned, prior research has not adequately studied the stages Data Collection an entrepreneurial team has followed before the lunch Once the introductory research questions were resolved, the (Unger, Rauch, Frese, & Rosenbusch, 2011), and more atten- data assemblage process began. To gather the bulk of data, tion must be given in the dynamics formulated along the dif- 12 different entrepreneurial teams were chosen. These 12 ferent stages of new venture development (Levie & teams were chosen based on our involvement in coordinating Lichtenstein, 2010). Liao, Welsch, and Tan (2005) state that a start-up incubation environment. Participating actively in although theoretical research on new venture creation pro- these entrepreneurial endeavors for 1 year helped us obtain cess has risen, it is mainly qualitative and there is a lack of exposure to teams at a level of detail required for achieving a empirical research in this field. deep understanding on all important aspects when exploring In addition, it should be highlighted that the entrepreneur- factors that influence their dynamics. ial teams cover different types of new ventures in terms of To gather the bulk of data, we combined multiple sources team structure, duration of existence, and field of applica- of data collection, called “triangulation” (Jick, 1979) that tion. Table 2 describes the entrepreneurial teams, comment- lends greater support to the conclusions. Hence, the follow- ing on their similarities and differences. The team similarities ing techniques were chosen as the most appropriate: and differences enhance the external validity of this research. To maintain confidentiality, the names of the 12 teams •• Personal observations during the incubation pro- have been concealed, but a thumbnail description of each is cess. We spent a great deal of time and effort to ana- provided (Table 3). In addition to these 12 teams, which have lyze the factors that influence team dynamics and been analyzed in detail, the authors have worked with a fur- identify those that are troublesome and can be ther 30 entrepreneurial teams over the past 2 years. improved. This was accomplished by interacting in a Consistent with the basis of theoretical sampling, the day-to-day manner with the teams, from the position entrepreneurial teams were chosen on the ground of their of an account manager responsible for their coaching knowledge and know-how with the constructs and processes in terms of minimum viable product development, of interest. This means that we continually tried to involve business model design, networking with external teams whose commentary can help clarify some aspects of resources, finding business mentors, consulting them the dynamics and the degree of cohesiveness among the dif- on business development issues, and trying to solve ferent stages of the new venture process. For example, after conflicts and tensions between them. interviewing five entrepreneurial teams and initially analyz- •• Semistructured interviews with key entrepreneurial ing their responses, the key findings that had risen from these teams about specific factors that influence the cohe- data guided the selection of other teams. That means that the siveness of the team to develop a thorough under- findings were not based on one single data collection attempt standing of the problem situation. The greatest value at one point in time. Moreover, specific teams were followed of this technique lies in the depth and detail of infor- up with secondary data (such as progress reports), so the mation that could be secured. This implies that we researchers were able to inquire about themes that occurred could have more control and opportunities to elicit later in the data collection process. feedback when needed. •• Retrieving data from progress reports. Every 2 The Coding Process months we gave them reports of progress which they ought to complete and, moreover, they had to orally To get a bird’s eye view on potential between-subject pat- present their progress in a monthly meeting where all terns in the data, which can be a boon for theorizing, we used teams participated. the principle of constant comparison. In this way, emerging primary data were always viewed through the lens of what All entrepreneurial teams undergo a new venture creation has been gathered from the personal observations during the effort, along different stages, as depicted in Figure 2. These different stages of the incubation process, the semistructured Diakanastasi et al. 7 Table 2. Entrepreneurial teams and their similarities and differences. CEO having Entrepreneurial No. of previous start-up team (E.T.) members Sex Years of operation Field of application First revenue experience E.T.1 2 1 male 2.5 years Real estate Yes Yes 1 female (couple) E.T.2 5 males 1.5 year E-learning No No E.T.3 2 males 9 months Digital No Yes E.T.4 3 1 female 3 years Social entrepreneurship No No 2 males (the two a couple) E.T.5 4 males 2 years catering Yes Yes E.T.6 3 2 males 1 2 years Culture Yes No female E.T.7 3 2 females 9 months Retail No Yes 1 male (1 couple) E.T.8 3 males 1.5 year Digital Yes No E.T.9 5 4 males 2 years Culture No No 1 females E.T.10 2 2 males 1 year Catering No No E.T.11 3 males 1 year Meteorology No No E.T.12 2 males 1 year Sharing economy No No Table 3. A Thumbnail Description of the Cases. influence team dynamics in the majority of the teams and the most common “codes” were the following: differences in the E.T.1: A web solution for finding trusted, effective motives, differences in expectations, lack of appropriate professionals for common home property skills and background, improper leadership, inefficient com- management services munication between team members, number of individuals, E.T.2: Cloud-based white label platform for e-learning commitment to the team, not clearly set roles, and existence E.T.3: Platform to recommend professionals by donating to a of couple in the team. common cause E.T.4: Social enterprise which promotes blood donation E.T.5: Application that wants to help restaurants attract actual customers The Research Context E.T.6: Mobile application that curates cultural stories for indoor and outdoor tours All the above teams were tenants of a university incubator E.T.7: Online aggregator for cosmetics where the authors work on a daily basis. Hosted teams are E.T.8: Online HR platform that companies use to attract and not spin-offs of the university. A tenant team has several ben- recruit interns and young graduates efits, tangible and intangible. Tangible benefits for example E.T.9: Mobile app for traveling sightseers interested in are the cost of operations. Hosted in an incubator new ven- stories that connect the buildings of the city and the tures do not have to support these costs (Quintas, Wield, & people behind them. Massey, 1992). Intangible assets could be the interaction E.T.10: Creation of digital menus for restaurants, bars etc. between the tenants of the incubator, the tenants, and the E.T.11: Weather forecast aggregator staff as also networking with the incubator’s network E.T.12: Logistics service based on sharing economy mentality (Bøllingtoft, 2012; Campbell, 1989). Moreover, the tenants Note. E.T. = entrepreneurial team; HR = human resources. benefit by using the University’s name in their external com- munications (Mian, 1996). Although Honig and Karlsson interviews and the progress reports, as well as existing litera- (2007) argue that relationship between entrepreneurial team ture. As a result, during the coding process, we developed and incubator’s managerial team are not present in the major- some “open codes” using either the vocabulary used by the ity of the cases, in the specific incubator the managerial team participants of the entrepreneurial teams or “literature-based and the tenants have strong relationships, which are usually codes” using vocabulary from the extant literature (Charmaz, maintained even after and entrepreneurial team leaves the 2006). Following the coding process, we moved to emerging incubator’s space. These tight relationships in the specific categories, a higher level of data abstraction (Glaser, 1978). incubation context make the quantitative research meaning- That is, we came across some patterned behaviors which ful and substantial. Furthermore, entrepreneurial teams in an 8 SAGE Open Figure 3. Factors that influence the dynamics of an entrepreneurial team and team cohesiveness. Note. ET = entrepreneurial team. incubator’s context are not yet adequately studied (Ensleya dropout of the entrepreneurial team. Teams that have stayed & Hmieleskib, 2005; Phan et al., 2005). In an incubation together and have persevered behind an endeavor, even if environment, there are some guidelines that must be fol- they had to make major pivoting or even significantly change lowed. For example, the teams have to report their progress their entrepreneurial idea, have demonstrated strong cohe- every 2 months, both in writing and orally, to a committee in siveness and team-spirit among team members. What has order for the latter to decide if the new venture stays in the been interesting to note is that the influence of these factors incubator or it will be dismissed. Likewise, there are some has not been constant along the different stages of the ven- legal matters that the tenants must fulfill to enter an incuba- ture creation process. In the following, we initially discuss tor environment, so we take as a fact that the new ventures each of these factors separately and provide evidence to sup- studied are by all means legally accepted in the European port them. We then examine the impact of these factors along Union (E.U.). the different stages of the venture creation process and come up with pertinent research propositions. Figure 3 gives a high-level overview of the research framework. Toward a Theory of Entrepreneurial Team Dynamics Along the Stages of Differences in the Motives the New Venture Creation Process When an entrepreneurial team is formed, the lead entrepre- In this section, we analyze the findings and recognize the neur and the members may not all share the same vision for factors that influence team dynamics and cohesiveness. the new venture. One member may have a vision to develop Following a grounded theory approach, we aim to a sound an exit strategy looking for outside investors. Another mem- between-subject comparison to support our conclusions. By ber may have a vision of funding and expansion. If the team observing and collecting primary and secondary data from members do not see eye to eye on the enduring purpose of 12 entrepreneurial teams on a daily basis, for a period of 1 the new venture, it is inevitable that they will not agree on the year, we came up with a set of factors that influence team strategy that the company is ambitiously targeting. Weiner dynamics and consequently team cohesiveness and willing- (1989) claims that in case the team’s tasks are not pursuant to ness to continue. each member’s motives, there is great possibility that the We developed two sets of insights from our analysis. members will not accomplish them and conflicts may be Initially the focus has been on understanding what are the caused with each other. Baum et al. (2001) also claim that factors that influence team member relationships and in gen- motivation has certain impact in new venture performance. eral the dynamics formulated within the group. We have then Based on the primary data, such differences in the motives monitored how team dynamics affect team cohesion, which were apparent with E.T.4 and E.T.3. In E.T.4, the team leader has been found to be a good predictor of continuation or Diakanastasi et al. 9 had the vision of gaining money, while the other members and vision, to take part in strategic decision making and work were truly engaged to a common cause. This led to intense with in daily operations to develop a sustainable product/ser- conflicts and team members started not wanting to work with vice. With no product, there are no customers and no income. the team leader anymore. As a result, during a period of 1 We observed this factor influencing the dynamics of E.T.2, year, at least four member transitions were observed. E.T.3, E.T.5, E.T.9, and E.T.10. For two of these teams, the Thereby, adding new members or dropping team members lack of appropriate skills and background in conjunction were a phenomenon that did not allow the entrepreneurial with other factors proved almost fatal as they exhibit no team to develop. E.T.3 consisted of two siblings already hav- cohesion anymore. The other three teams have continued ing a successful start-up. In this tenant, only one of the mem- their effort, as they did not face serious other problems in bers had the willingness to develop a second entrepreneurial their team dynamics, but they were unable to develop a mini- endeavor. The other team member was forced to enter the mum viable product for a relatively long time, which finally entrepreneurial effort. The result was that he had only physi- has disappointed them. They started questioning themselves cal presence and was never really into the try. Only one if they were doing well keeping up with their endeavor. member could not keep up pace with the effort needed, and Having a lack of appropriate skills and background brought for the time being the endeavor has paused. about less cohesion. But in the end, based on the absence of other negative team dynamics, the team cohesion was finally balanced and the teams succeeded in having a minimum via- Differences in Expectations ble product and the first users. The analysis also showed that differences in expectations can be regarded as a significant factor that influences team Improper Leadership dynamics and cohesiveness. Pirola-Merlo et al. (2002) argue that when the expectations of a team do not turn into reality, The leader of the team usually is the one that had the initial there is a negative effect on the team’s climate. In the last few idea of starting the business. He is the one who loves it the years, the word start-up has been tossed around a lot and most and the one who must inspire the other members of the people believe it is easy to succeed, to get investors and part- team. Zaccaro et al. (2001) state that the leader holds the key ners to join up in their venture, and perhaps even gain loads of team processes and outcomes. As George (2000) high- of money. In reality, things are completely different. The lights, leadership is a mainly emotional process. Not every- team needs to put in a lot of persistence, patience, and work body is capable of having this role. Especially in a time of to develop a viable new venture. But even then, there are a crisis, the leader must be able to stay calm, take decisions, lot of chances that the new venture will end up not being and protect everyone from losing their motivation. If the feasible. So, when these people face reality, in most of the leader cannot support this role, the most probable thing is cases they do not have the strength to keep up with and that the rest of the team will get really soon demotivated and develop a cohesive team but they end up giving up. This is abandon the endeavor. We faced this factor with E.T.2, E.T.4, consistent with the cases of E.T.12 and E.T.2. Both teams and E.T.7. In the first case, the leader had worked in an enter- thought that their new venture was so brilliant and disruptive prise as an account manager. His managerial style was influ- that everyone would engage to it immediately. But this was enced by this previous work experience. So, he was really not the case. The result was that the founders started to get strict to other team members, always insulting, complaining, disappointed, blaming one another that they did not do their and demanding. Both E.T.4 and E.T.7 had as a leader a per- job appropriately and started feeling stressed by their son who confronted the new venture as a way for personal coworkers for not getting any salary as they had been prom- success. Once again, we observed that the leader was bossy, ised. Once again the dynamics of the differences in expecta- demanding, and impolite. He did not motivate the other team tion violated the cohesiveness of E.T.12 and E.T.2. members and complained that they were the only one (in their teams) worthy and trying for the team. Both founders had almost the same attitude but for different reasons. The Lack of Appropriate Skills and Background result was the same. People got demotivated really soon and The lack of appropriate skills and background was addressed left the team. Another case of improper leadership was as a significant factor that affects the team dynamics and E.T.10. This leader was really introvert and suspicious, and cohesion. Some founders get so excited with their idea, that did not want to share information. In this case, he was the they incorporate into the founding team the first people who one to dismiss the other team members. Now he has aban- will accept the idea. But the team must have complementary doned the project. skills to deal with uncertainties and develop a sustainable venture. Leary and DeVaughn (2009) support that a well- Inefficient Communication Between Team established team is crucial for the success of the firm. Starting Members a new venture is too hard for one person and run as sole pro- It is really difficult to keep the balance in teams. The pressure prietorships. A single person cannot start a new venture with- that an entrepreneurial team faces makes keeping this out having a cofounder to share ownership, goals, mission, 10 SAGE Open balance more difficult. For Cartwright and Zander (1968) E.T.8, E.T.2, and E.T.6. In E.T.8, the team was formulated by and McGrath (1984), communication is an essential prog- two members who were responsible for developing the plat- nosticator of team performance. Furthermore, in the digital form and one who was the business developer. For a period era, where a big amount of communication takes place via of 6 months, the business developer was underproductive email, sms, and other digital tools for team project manage- due to personal issues. This meant that there was not enough ment, and so forth, lots of communication happens not face correspondence with the market, no new clients, and no to face but in writing. Written communication makes things potential income. The rest of the team was getting nervous more complicated due to lack of face expressions, body lan- and demotivated. Now that the personal issues of this mem- guage, and not hearing the tone of the voice. If team mem- ber are over the team is working again in their full capacity. bers cannot communicate efficiently their thoughts, then In E.T.2 and E.T.6, the members responsible for the technical conflicts may rise as a result of misunderstanding. For exam- development were underproductive due to personal issues. ple, a member may feel excluded because another member Considering that the digital platform is the core product of just forgot to cc him in an email. Misconceptions start to these entrepreneurial teams, they could not afford to have the occur and the moral of the team falls. Unfortunately, this responsible of the development not being able to work. That works as a vicious circle. If communication problems are not afresh created disputes in the entrepreneurial teams made spotted and solved, then they will only get worse. And this them delay their product for 4 to 5 months and put the team may lead to less team cohesion. We observed this factor in cohesion at risk. E.T.2 and E.T.7. In the first case, one member of the team was working mainly remotely. As a result, they communi- Commitment to the Team cated via a tool for online team communication. The problem was that they could not reach him whenever they needed Commitment to the team has also stood out as a factor sig- him. There were misunderstandings and the concept could nificantly affecting team dynamics. Not all team members not be communicated properly. This member was the first commit to the new venture’s purpose, goals, and processes one who quitted the team. In the second case, the team con- and dedicate the same amount of time and workload. Some sisted of three members. The leader used to see the other of the team members start the new venture while working members separately. Moreover, there was also a couple. This full-time or part-time, and other members act as freelancers caused a big imbalance in the team. When the leader had a and a few go full-time on the new venture. As Teece (2015) problem with one of the members, he went to the other one states, commitment can drastically increase performance. to communicate the problem separately, without the three of We tend to believe that individuals who commit fully to the them talking simultaneously. Thus, a subteam was created in entrepreneurial endeavor feel to own the whole project more the team. As a result, the third member quitted and the team and this is unfair for the rest of the team. This was the case cohesion was violated. observed for E.T.2, E.T.7, and E.T.8. The members who were working full-time (not necessarily the founder) felt under- privileged and overloaded with work and responsibilities. In Number of Individuals turn, they felt as there were the only members caring about A new venture usually consists of two to five team members, the entrepreneurial endeavor. We noticed that this issue was and the roles of each member are usually separated. For coming up in almost every conflict the entrepreneurial team example, one member is responsible for marketing, another had, no matter what the subject of the conflict was. It was one is responsible for product development, another one for never a matter of dispute by itself but it was coming up on the sales, and so on. Bell (2007) and Stewart (2006) have any occasion. Based on our observations, it seems that this studied what is supposed to be the most competent number factor cannot by itself split the team if all the other team of individuals per team. If one member cannot be efficient dynamics are working properly, but it is for sure a matter that due to personal reasons, in a team of let’s say four people, causes extra strains. this means that 25% of the company is not functional. Or even that a whole “department” of a company is off. When Not Clearly Set Roles this happens, the other members get disenchanted and dis- turbed. Deadlines are postponed and potential customers are If the roles are not well defined, then confusion and disagree- not happy. The major problem is that even if the member ment start. Projects are not easy to proceed. Some tasks of a who had a problem comes again on board, then another team member may overweigh another member’s task, the member may have a problem. The same happens when a same job is done twice, and some tasks are not responsibility member wants to take some days off or vacations. The team of anyone, resulting in the job not to be done at all. If this can be really productive only when all members are aligned. situation is not resolved, then we see that the assignments are If the team members cannot support each other, or take really delayed or not performed at all. This concludes to a responsibility of the others’ workload, then the team cohe- nonfunctional group that is not trusted by potential custom- sion is really in question. This is pursuant to the cases of ers. It leads once again in quarrel and dissolution of the team, Diakanastasi et al. 11 Table 4. Factors That Influence Team Dynamics of the Cases Examined. Lack of Differences Differences appropriate Inefficient Number Existence in the in skills and Improper communication of Commitment Not of couple Entrepreneurial motives expectations background leadership between team individuals to the team clearly set in the team (E.T.) (DM) (DE) (L) (IL) members (IC) (NI) (C) roles (R) team (EC) E.T.1 ✓ E.T.2 ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ E.T.3 ✓ ✓ ✓ E.T.4 ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ E.T.5 ✓ E.T.6 ✓ E.T.7 ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ E.T.8 ✓ ✓ E.T.9 ✓ E.T.10 ✓ ✓ E.T.11 ✓ ✓ E.T.12 ✓ Note. E.T. = entrepreneurial team. as was the case of E.T.3, E.T.4, and E.T.11. None of these This woman was speaking against the second team member entrepreneurial teams had clearly separated areas of respon- to her boyfriend. The boyfriend did not have immediate sibility between them. The members did not take ownership interaction with the second female so, his only input was of duties as they did not know if they were theirs, so many from his girlfriend. The result was that the everyday condi- tasks had no ownership and were not completed at all. These tions of working were so bad, for the single girl, that she had inefficiencies led to problems and tension that stressed the to leave the team, even though she was working on this proj- team members who started blaming each other. As a result, ect for 9 months, and felt ownership for it. Based on these the team cohesion was violated and these entrepreneurial initial observations, this research suggests that having a cou- teams have not proceeded with their product for the past 5 to ple in the team decalibrates team dynamics, brings tension, 6 months. which in turn can lead to low levels of team cohesion. The following table (Table 4) summarizes the various fac- tors that were observed in the different teams and had an Existence of a Couple in the Team influence on team dynamics and ultimately on the team out- During our research, we came across three teams in which come. We can see that some teams suffered more than others, two of their members where a couple. There are several stud- as many of these factors had a negative impact on team ies pointing toward the fact that new venture teams often dynamics. On the other hand, some teams may have been consist of a couple (Hilburt-Davis & Dyer, 2003; Jaffe, influenced by only one or few factors, but this influence was 1990). Poza and Messer (2001) agree that it is very possible so strong that ultimately led to the team giving up and not that romantic relationship and running a business together continuing the endeavor. will harm either the business or the couple. We encountered Therefore, as a next step in our analysis, we tried to see the factor of couple venturing within E.T.1, E.T.4, and E.T.7. what has been the influence of each of these factors during In the first team, the couple was getting tired of the constant the different stages of the new venture creation process and interaction and consequently this factor led to member exit whether the influence of a factor was strong enough to break- and no team cohesion. In the second case, the entrepreneurial up the team or not. While we could look at outcome variables team was working as a field of battle and a game of power related to team performance, as often met in the pertinent between the couple. The couple was splitting and getting literature, we decided to focus on team cohesion as the main back together, the other team members were always trying to outcome variable of this study. Apart from the 12 teams ana- keep them calm and not destroy the team. Some of the team lyzed in this study, we have also observed a larger number of individuals left the entrepreneurial team exactly because teams hosted in the context of the university incubator over a they did not want to keep up with this situation. The team is period of 2 years and for some teams the available evidence now left with three members but not having a viable product extends to a period of more than 4 years. Over this period, we after 3 years of operation. The third team had two females have often observed that teams do not work with the same and one male. One of the females is a couple with the male. passion or pace all the time and there are often periods that 12 SAGE Open Table 5. Factors That Influence Team Dynamics Along the Venture Creation Process. New venture creation stage Protoyping Entrepreneurial Concept and and business Launch preparation, Launch Current status team (E.T.) Ideation screening development Beta use and scaling of the team E.T.1 EC EC DE, EC DE, C, EC ------- Quitted in (#M = 1) (#M = 1) (#M = 2) (#M = 3) Stage 4 E.T.2 IL, DM, L DM, L, IL, IC DM, DE, L, IL, IC, Quitted in (#M = 2) (#M = 2) NI, C Stage 3 (#M = 6) E.T.3 DM, L, IL, NI, C DM, L, IL, Quitted in (#M = 1) NI, C, Stage 2 (#M = 3) E.T.4 DM, DE, L, IL, IC, EC DM, DE, L, IL, IC, EC DM, DE, IL, IC, EC DM, DE, IL, IC, EC ------- Stage 4 (#M = 2) (#M = 2) (#M = 6) (#M = 25) E.T.5 L L (#M = 12) (#M = 6) Stage 5 (#M = 3) (#M = 3) E.T.6 R R R (#M = 3) Stage 5 (#M = 2) (#M = 5) (#M = 8) E.T.7 DM, EC, IL (#M = 2) DM, R, EC, IL DM, EC, IL Quitted in (#M = 2) (#M = 8) Stage 3 E.T.8 R R DE, R DE, C C Stage 5 (#M = 2) (#M = 2) (#M = 10) (#M = 6) E.T.9 L, R L, IC, R L, C, R, IC IC, C, R ------- Stage 4 (#M = 2) (#M = 2) (#M = 11) (#M = 10) E.T.10 IL, L, NI IL, L, IC IL, DE, L, IC, IL, NI Quitted in (#M = 1) (#M = 3) (#M = 9) Stage 3 E.T.11 IL, R IL, R IL, R IL ------- Stage 4 (#M = 2) (#M = 3) (#M = 10) (#M = 5) E.T.12 L, R L, NI, R NI, R Quitted in (#M = 1) (#M = 2) (#M = 6) Stage 3 Note. EC = existence of couple in the team; #M = duration in months that the entrepreneurial team stayed at this stage; DE = differences in expectations; C = commitment to the team; ------- = the entrepreneurial team has paused; IL = improper leadership; DM = differences in the motives; L = lack of appropriate skills and background; IC = inefficient communication between team members; = the entrepreneurial team has quitted; = the entrepreneurial team continues; R = not clearly set roles; NI = number of individuals. the whole endeavor is questioned. However, if the team man- row depicts the progress of a team along the different stages ages to stay together and work on their idea, even at a slower of the new venture creation process. In each cell, we note the pace or often doing major pivots and significantly changing factors that have been observed to influence team dynamics their entrepreneurial concept, they manage to proceed in the during each stage. The last column shows the current status end and often achieve exceptional results. We thus believe of the entrepreneurial team, that is, whether it has quitted the that team cohesion can be a very good predictor of success, entrepreneurial endeavor (and at what stage) or whether it is demonstrating that the team proceeds from one stage of the still progressing. The table also depicts the time it has taken new venture creation process to the other. If team cohesion is each team to move from one stage to the other, which can not achieved, then the team breaks up and quits the entrepre- also offer an indication of the team progress and neurial endeavor. performance. to draw some insights on the impact of each factor on As also depicted in Tables 4 and 5 and based on the moni- team cohesion and examine whether the influence of a factor toring and coaching of the entrepreneurial teams on a daily can be catalytic for a team’s future, we have extended the basis, we concluded the following findings: analysis to observe whether the existence of a factor has been temporal or whether it was something the team could not •• We see that some teams suffer by many more factors overcome. Moreover, we have examined whether this has that influence team dynamics while others appear to ultimately led to the team quitting the entrepreneurial have less issues. All the teams in the table that have endeavor or continuing to progress from one stage to the various issues influencing their team coherence (i.e., other. Table 5 presents the outcome of this analysis. Each E.T.1, E.T.2, E.T.3, E.T.4, E.T.7, E.T.10) have finally Diakanastasi et al. 13 quitted the endeavor. However, there are some teams does not make it to market launch. This is obvious that demonstrate only some of the issues (e.g., E.T.9, in the cases of E.T.2, E.T.3, E.T.4, E.T.7, E.T.10, E.T.11, E.T.12) and have also paused their endeavor, and E.T.11. || which raises the chances of them to quit. On the con- The same applies to factor “differences in the trary, the teams that have managed to proceed (E.T.5, motives” where we see teams E.T.2, E.T.3, E.T.4, E.T.6, E.T.8) are influence by very few factors, mainly and E.T.7 not making it to the end. Differences lack of appropriate skills and not clearly set roles, in motives make team members not to share the which they have managed to overcome as they have same vision. As a result, team members have dif- proceeded from one stage to the other. Based on this ferent priorities and different goals and feel that observation and the previous discussion we can derive it is different achievements that will make them the following propositions: happy. The individuals never get to be a real team that works cooperatively and efficiently and the Proposition 1: When there are many factors negatively team eventually gets to split. effecting the dynamics and cohesion of an entrepreneurial || On the contrary, factors such as “inefficient com- team, then it is highly probable that the team will quit the munication between team members” (E.T.2, E.T.4, entrepreneurial endeavor before market launch. E.T.9, E.T.10) and “number of individuals” (E.T.2, Proposition 2: The entrepreneurial teams that make it to E.T.3, E.T.10, E.T.12), although cause conflict and market launch either are not influenced by factors that disputes among the team members, did not seem have a negative impact on team cohesion or manage to to be adequate to break the teams. control them as they proceed in the new venture creation || In the cases where there was a couple in the team, process. we met the couple through all the stages. But this can also be attributed to personal reasons that •• Not all factors appear to have the same significance cannot be studied in an incubator’s context. The and some of them refer to issues that can be overcome literature (e.g., Poza & Messer, 2001) indicates by an entrepreneurial team while others not. In addi- that existence of a romantic couple would cre- tion, some factors are mostly associated to certain ate a problem to the couple and accordingly to stages, either early or later in the new venture creation the business. Although we met this behavior in process. E.T.4, this was not what happened in E.T.1 and E.T.7 where the couples were very bonded and || For example, factors such as “lack of appropri- they had the tendency to separate themselves ate skills” or “not clearly set roles” may be more from the rest of the team. This caused problems apparent in the beginning, but teams that continue in the relationship with the other team members, after the third stage seem to get over this problem. who felt excluded and much information was not Teams that are bonded and very willing to work disclosed to them. on their project seem to have the ability to either learn the skills needed, or find an extra person to Proposition 3: Some factors are more crucial than others support them, or find an alternative way to solve in affecting the cohesion of an entrepreneurial team and the problem. This happened with E.T.5 and E.T.9, may lead the team to quit or may be addressable. For whose main problem was the lack of IT back- example, factors that can be addressed are “lack of appro- ground and after trying for a long time without priate skills” or “not clearly set roles.” On the contrary, quitting they found the manner to manage the lack “improper leadership” is a factor that may be “fatal” and of this expertise. cannot be easily eliminated. || Another factor that stands out is “commitment Proposition 4: The factors that affect team dynamics and to the team,” which often appears from the third the cohesion of an entrepreneurial team are not equally stage onward (e.g. E.T.1, E.T.2, E.T.8, E.T.9). It apparent along all the stages of the new venture creation is the phase when people need to devote more process. time while the outcome is not yet obvious at all. Commitment to the team also starts to show mainly when the tasks are separated and each •• Another aspect worthy of attention is the duration member has a specific role to play in the team. each entrepreneurial team stays at each stage of the || Factors such as “improper leadership” may be new venture creation process. As we can see in Table apparent as early as the team creation phase and 5, at the first two stages the teams did not stay for may not ameliorate through time. This factor more than 1 or 2 months per stage. These are the most proved to be the most “fatal” for the teams, as creative stages. Things are pretty unclear and every- whenever it is apparent, the entrepreneurial team thing is on a test and trial basis. Usually all 14 SAGE Open team members have a percentage of ownership on the •• Identify important factors that influence the entrepre- project. Teams are still motivated and things are rap- neurial team dynamics and affect the cohesiveness of idly changing. On the contrary, the third stage seemed the team through the different stages of the new ven- to be the most difficult to overcome. This is the stage ture creation process where things must be done. Work must be organized, •• Direct attention to nascent entrepreneurship; meaning tasks assigned, roles of each member clearly set in the before the new venture is well established or before it team. The team must make projections, maybe hire is founded at all staff and find a way to self-fund its project. The major- ity of the teams stayed in this stage for 8 to 12 months As such, the novel aspects in our study are the focus on the and 4 out of 12 teams did not manage to overcome this new venture context for extending the upper echelon litera- stage and quitted the effort. All of the teams that man- ture; the collection of primary data of a university incubator, aged to pass the third stage are either stationary at the directing attention to nascent entrepreneurship context; and fourth stage or have launched successfully. the focus on team dynamics as influencers of team cohesive- ness which in turn shape more distal outcomes, such as new Proposition 5: The time an entrepreneurial team stays at venture sustainability and growth. a stage of the new venture creation process seems to be This study draws various insights on the relationships associated to team cohesion. The more the factors nega- between factors affecting entrepreneurial team dynamics and tively affecting team dynamics and team cohesion, the concludes with certain propositions following the grounded more the duration of each stage for the team. theory approach. Each of these propositions is a call for fur- ther research and both qualitative and quantitative approaches Our analysis supports that nascent entrepreneurial teams could be used to shed light and confirm or further explain the that have differences in motives and in expectations, lack of results. proper professional background, improper leadership, and During this research, several external factors (such as lack inefficient communication between team members are of capital, launch of the product/service too early, team can- more likely to result in low levels of team cohesion. not execute fast enough to pace up with competitors, the Moreover, crucial factors are the number of participants, entrepreneurial team cannot get customer, bad location) the commitment to the team, how well the roles of each could also affect team dynamics, and this is a limitation and individual are set, and the existence of a couple at the team. field to be further researched as mediating or moderating All the abovementioned factors affect team dynamics, the effects. team cohesiveness, and ultimately the outcome of new ven- Last but not least, this article presents an effort to assist ture performance. nascent entrepreneurs in evaluating their potential, identify- ing the factors that influence team dynamics and supporting their decision on moving to a sustainable start-up creation. Conclusions, Limitations, and Future Research Declaration of Conflicting Interests Over the past decade, entrepreneurship research has moved The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect from a focus on solo entrepreneurs to an approval of the role to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. of entrepreneurial teams in the new venture creation pro- cess. Grounded both in previous literature and in a qualita- Funding tive, longitudinal field study, this research developed a The author(s) received no financial support for the research, author- theory to explain the factors affecting entrepreneurial team ship, and/or publication of this article. dynamics and team cohesion during the new venture cre- ation process. References The new venture context can be regarded as an excep- Amason, A. C. (1996). 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(2015). Entrepreneurial team diversity and doxical black box. Human Relations, 67, 287-310. performance: Toward an integrated model. Entrepreneurship Smith, K. G., Smith, K. A., Olian, J. D., Sims, H. P., O’Bannon, D. Research Journal, 5, 1-30. P., & Scully, J. A. (1994). Top management team demography and process: The role of social integration and communication. Author Biographies Administrative Science Quarterly, 39, 412-438. Elli Diakanastasi (MSc, Phd Candidate) is the network and opera- Solansky, S. T., Beck, T. E., & Travis, D. (2014). A complexity tions manager and a founding member of the Athens Center for perspective of a meta-organization team: The role of destabiliz- Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She holds a degree in political ing and stabilizing tensions. Human Relations, 67, 1007-1033. science and history from Panteion University of Social and Political Stam, E., & Schutjens, V. (Eds.). (2005). The fragile success Sciences, a postdiploma specialization in business administration of team start-ups (No. 1705). Papers on Entrepreneurship, from the Vocational Training Center of AUEB and a master of Growth and Public Policy. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle. management degree in product innovation and entrepreneurship net/10419/20007 from the Business School of the University of Antwerp. At the Staw, B. M. (1976). Knee-deep in the big muddy: A study of esca- moment, she is a researcher at ELTRUN the E-Business Center in lating commitment to a chosen course of action. Organizational AUEB and a PhD candidate in innovation and entrepreneurship at Behavior and Human Performance, 16, 27-44. the same university. Stewart, G. L. (2006). A meta-analytic review of relationships between team design features and team performance. Journal Angeliki Karagiannaki is a part-time lecturer for the “Innovation of Management, 32, 29-54. and Entrepreneurship” module at the Department of Informatics of Teece, D. (2015). Intangible assets and a theory of heterogeneous Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB). She is also firms. In Intangibles, market failure and innovation perfor- a founding member and the director of Athens Center for mance (pp. 217-239). Cham: Springer. Entrepreneurship and Innovation (www.acein.aueb.gr), the incuba- Timmons, J. A., & Spinelli, S. (2008). New venture creation: tion center of AUEB. She holds a PhD from AUEB with a thesis Entrepreneurship for the 21st century. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill. entitled “RFID-enabled Supply Chain Process Redesign using Ulhøi, J. P. (2005). The social dimensions of entrepreneurship. Simulation” and a master’s degree in management science and Technovation, 25, 939-946. operational research from Warwick Business School. She is also a Unger, J. M., Rauch, A., Frese, M., & Rosenbusch, N. (2011). member of the Advisory Committee for Research and Innovation in Human capital and entrepreneurial success: A meta-analytical Attica Region. She has published a book in Greek titled Quantitative review. Journal of Business Venturing, 26, 341-358. & Qualitative Business Process Modeling. Vanaelst, I., Clarysse, B., Wright, M., Lockett, A., Moray, N., & Katerina Pramatari is an associate professor at the Department of S’jegers, R. (2006). Entrepreneurial team development in Management Science and Technology, Athens University of academic spinouts: An examination of team heterogeneity. Economics and Business, and scientific coordinator of the Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 30, 249-271. ELTRUN/SCORE research group. She holds a BSc in informatics Vaz, T. D. N., & Nijkamp, P. (2009). Knowledge and innovation: and MSc in information systems from AUEB, and a PhD in infor- The strings between global and local dimensions of sustain- mation systems and supply chain management also from AUEB. able growth. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 21, She has received various academic distinctions and scholarships 441-455. and has published more than 100 papers in scientific journals, peer- Visintin, F., & Pittino, D. (2014). Founding team composition and reviewed academic conferences, and book chapters. She is also a early performance of university—Based spin-off companies. partner at Uni. Fund, fund. Technovation, 34, 31-43.
SAGE Open – SAGE
Published: Jul 2, 2018
Keywords: entrepreneurial teams; start-up; nascent entrepreneurs; university incubator; new venture performance; team entrepreneurship; new venture teams; team cohesion
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