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The link between new venture survival and the presence of founding teams is investigated, in particular the effect of the gender composition of teams. Furthermore, we study venture survival, gender, and institutional change. A unique longitudinal database is employed, covering a large number of Swedish ventures established during 6 specific years, 1930-2005. These data capture the initial gender diversity of start-ups. The contextualization of entrepreneurship involves situational and temporal boundaries, and we elaborate on contextual factors at different levels of analysis. Our results show that ventures founded by teams have a higher probability of surviving, but show no overall team gender homogeneity/heterogeneity effect. However, we find some support for the fact that ventures founded by all-female teams have lower survival chances. Nevertheless, the clearest negative effect is found for female solo start-ups. Furthermore, our results support the fact that institutional transformation may gradually have increased the likelihood of ventures founded by females to survive. Keywords entrepreneurial team, new venture survival, institutions, institutional transformation, longitudinal study, team composition, context, gender diversity, venture team, founding team team is considered to be a promising framework of analysis. Introduction In spite of this, teams have gained relatively little attention in This study aims at analyzing the relationship between new the past research (Cooney, 2005; Cooper & Daily, 1997; venture survival, and the social context(s) of entrepreneurial Davidsson & Wiklund, 2001; Martinez, Yang, & Aldrich, teams and founding team gender diversity. In this task, we 2011), and there are few large-sample studies on the perfor- employ a unique, prospective longitudinal database compris- mance differences between solo start-ups and team start-ups ing a large number of Swedish ventures established in 7 dif- (Gueguen, 2013). The need for a more explicit highlighting ferent years in the first half of the 20th century and in the of the entrepreneurial team, as well as an exploration and early 21st century. The study sets out from the established evaluation of earlier theoretical contributions and their appli- conception that venture performance is a context-specific cability, is considered to be urgent (Aldrich & Kim, 2007; outcome at several analytical levels, as well as dependent on Larsson Segerlind, 2009; Zhou & Rosini, 2015). In particu- time (Aldrich, 2009; Welter, 2011). We ask if there is a dif- lar, this concerns the question of gender differences in the ference in the likelihood of survival for ventures founded by initial formation process (Prytherch, Sinnott, Howells, an entrepreneurial team, as compared with ventures founded Fuller-Love, & O’Gorman, 2012). Despite this, much by solo entrepreneurs. Moreover, we ask if the probability of research on entrepreneurial teams and gender often uses gen- venture survival is affected by the ventures’ founding con- der as just one of several demographic variables of diversity stellation with regard to gender. As gender is an integral phe- (e.g., age, education, ethnicity, and functional background). nomenon in our study, we also ask whether this relationship Chowdhury (2005) argues that studies have seldom has changed over time. Team entrepreneurship, gender structures, and the context of entrepreneurship have received increasing attention Södertörn University, Huddinge, Sweden (Holmquist & Carter, 2009; Welter, 2011). Scholars have Corresponding Author: since long claimed that multiple analytical levels have the Tommy Larsson Segerlind, Enter Forum, Business Studies, School of Social potential to provide important insights (Davidsson, 2008; Sciences, Södertörn University, S-141 89 Huddinge, Sweden. Low & MacMillan, 1988). In particular, the entrepreneurial Email: email@example.com 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 developed consistent findings. Harrison and Klein (2007) Brush, Carter, & Welter, 2012), it is claimed that earlier furthermore argue that the framework of diversity is a way of research has used an individualistic perspective, and “describing the distribution of differences among the mem- neglected contextual and historical factors—for example, the bers of a unit with respect to a common attribute” (p. 1200), social arrangements in which women are embedded. Ahl and that previous mixed results from research on team diver- (2006) argues that research tends to reinforce the idea that sity can be explained by the inability to recognize that the differences between male and female entrepreneurs can be construct of diversity is not only one type of diversity. explained at the individual level, rather than at the social or Instead, it can include three types of diversity: variety, sepa- institutional level; thus, we need future studies where women ration, and/or disparity. are embedded in collective settings. As noted, our ambition In studies of entrepreneurial teams, diversity has often in this article is to contextualize these issues (cf. Welter, been constructed in terms of variety together with a resource- 2011). seeking theoretical perspective (Kamm & Nurick, 1993; Scholars have asked for longer longitudinal research Sandberg, 1992). Variety, as a diversity type, implies differ- designs of entrepreneurial phenomena (Aldrich, 2009; ences in qualitative categorical attributes that are associated Davidsson, 2008; Martinez et al., 2011; Poole, Van de Ven, with positive consequences in terms of creative problem Dooley, & Holmes, 2000). The present study uses a longitu- solving, innovation, or flexibility and adaptability (Harrison dinal, long-term approach to capture entrepreneurial pro- & Klein, 2007). However, this theoretical perspective has cesses with several levels of explanations. Thereby, our study often failed to explain some of the empirical findings related also aims at contributing methodological insights. We to diversity in entrepreneurial teams (Lechler, 2001). Several employ a prospective longitudinal database, covering more scholars have argued for other complementary theoretical than 23,000 Swedish joint-stock company start-ups—spe- frameworks, arguing for a theoretical perspective of interper- cifically, the data consist of complete entry cohorts of ven- sonal attraction (Aldrich & Kim, 2007; Forbes, Borchert, tures founded in 1930, 1942, 1950, 2001, 2003, and 2005. Zellmer-Bruhn, & Sapienza, 2006). This indicates the use of We trace the survival of the ventures in each cohort over a diversity as separation (Harrison & Klein, 2007). Separation 3-year period, a phase recognized to be the most precarious as a type of diversity implies differences in the (lateral) posi- for survival (Stam & Schutjens, 2006). tion or opinion among unit members. It is associated with negative consequences, such as distrust, low cohesion, con- flicts, and poor performance. The theoretical perspective of Background and Research Framework disparity is more common in research on diversity in top In this study, we use the definition of an entrepreneurial team management teams (TMTs; Eisenhardt & Bourgeois, 1988) from Schjoedt and Kraus (2009): but less so in team entrepreneurship research (even though there are recent contributions; see Yang & Aldrich, 2014; An entrepreneurial team consists of two or more persons who Yang & del Carmen Triana, 2017). Diversity as disparity have an interest, both financial and otherwise, in and a focuses on the vertical differences in the possession of commitment to a venture’s future and success; whose work is socially valued resources. These are held among unit mem- interdependent in the pursuit of a common goals and venture bers in terms of social power, inequality, status hierarchies success; who are accountable to the entrepreneurial team and for and privileges associated with competition, differentiation, the venture; who are considered to be at the executive level with and resentful deviance among unit members, as well as con- executive responsibility in the early phases of the venture, formity, silence suppression of creativity and withdrawal. including founding and pre-start up; and who are seen as a social Harrison and Klein (2007) argue that disparity as a perspec- entity by themselves and by others. (p. 515) tive can highlight power differences between men and women, and contribute with important insights. Disparity, in This definition emphasizes the fact that the entrepreneurial terms of power relations, is also promising as a construct as team is a social entity that is recognized both by themselves it can be related to both social and societal contextual and by others; that there is a shared commitment and an arrangements. Yang and Aldrich (2014) found that institu- interdependency in the team; that the members hold a pos- tionalized gender logic and principles often lurk beneath the session of an executive position in the foundation of the ven- surface in entrepreneurial teams. In the present study, the ture; and that there is a link between the founders and venture nature of our empirical data makes it difficult to entirely ful- performance. fill the requests from Harrison and Klein (2007) of exploring The literature on organizational performance can essen- new measurements of team diversity based on the three types tially be divided into two main views: One view is based on of diversity. Rather, the framework of Harrison and Klein the idea that factors at the individual level—human demo- (2007) is utilized for alternative theoretical interpretations of graphic variables such as human capital, social background, the empirical results. and cognitive ability—can explain performance differences In overview articles of women’s entrepreneurship and variations at the organizational level. One clear example (Achtenhagen & Tillmar, 2013; Ahl, 2006; Hughes, Jennings, is the “traits school” in entrepreneurship (Landström, 2005). Box and Larsson Segerlind 3 This view can be described as “voluntaristic,” as the environ- economic system. One particular social context will interact ment of entrepreneurs has less explanatory power for organi- with the “higher” societal context. Thus, the societal context zational performance. The other main explanation takes on a for female entrepreneurship—attitudes and norms, regula- “deterministic” standpoint in which conditions that are exter- tions and policy measures—therefore interacts with the nal to the firm are of greater importance (Mellahi & social context of the venture (in our example, female found- Wilkinson, 2004; Smith & Cao, 2007). Two subsets of per- ers). This cross-level interaction produces one particular ceptions can be identified within this “deterministic” expla- context-specific outcome that may differ from the social- nation: One is the adaptation perspective: Entrepreneurs and societal context—or interaction—of another venture, such as firms adapt to and align with their environments, which can that of male founders. explain variations in performance across firms. The other Furthermore, as a team involves social relations, we can theoretical subset is the selection perspective, maintaining analytically conceive the mere presence of an entrepreneur- that firms are nearly entirely dependent on their environ- ial team in a venture as one particular type of context which ments. Organizations are mostly inert and cannot change differs from the social context of a venture founded, owned, successfully—they are imprinted by both institutional and and managed by a solo entrepreneur. The latter must rely on macroconditions when founded, and by endogenous and relations to a social network without any venture partner(s). exogenous selection forces over time (Carroll & Hannan, The performance outcomes may therefore vary between the 2000; Smith & Cao, 2007). More importantly, the selection two types of contexts (e.g., Lechler, 2001). perspective also maintains that founders establish the “orga- Welter (2011) explicitly distinguishes between omnibus nizational blueprint” in the organization’s infancy; internal contexts—or contextual “lenses”—and discrete contexts. The founding conditions are essential for organizational out- latter should be considered as “variables,” or operational indi- comes, which implies a nearly permanent influence on these cators, nested within the omnibus context; the discrete contex- conditions. Routines, norms, and cultures, including gender tual variables mediate the omnibus context. In line with this, principles and logic, established by founders imprint the we believe that a research framework that specifically takes organizations, and also influence the founders’ relations to into account the prevailing and changing context(s) for entre- each other (Yang & Aldrich, 2014), nearly inevitably leading preneurship will contribute to research progress: “[c]ontext to organizational inertia. These internally set blueprints can simultaneously provides individuals with entrepreneurial seldom be altered—and, if so, only at a great cost, often lead- opportunities and sets boundaries for their actions” (p. 165). ing to the dissolution of the organization (Carroll & Khessina, Welter (2011), in particular Aldrich (2009) and Martinez et al. 2005; Hannan, Baron, Hsu, & Koçac, 2006). While setting (2011), specifically elaborates on time as context, and on the out from very different theoretical assumptions, the “volun- need for studying organizations comparatively. The latter rests taristic” perspective and the “deterministic” selection per- on the empirical argument that organizations are a very hetero- spective both share the conception that founders are geneous set. By understanding the contextual effects of time fundamental in explaining organizational performance and (and space), we have some leverage in explaining this hetero- differences in performance—which may be outcomes of dif- geneity. Aldrich (2009) means that the context of the cases ferences in team compositions. should be used to theorize the processes, structures, and pat- Several explanations for organizational performance terns that vary across time. The critical feature of entrepre- maintain that the selection mechanism is effective at several neurial outcomes is unexplored if the “black swans”—for levels; consequently, these are contexts that relate to the indi- example, those relatively few start-ups that actually survive vidual, to the team, the business, the market, as well as to and grow, or the even fewer that eventually have an initial institutional and macro-levels. Contextualization implies a public offering—are not compared with the mundane, initial consideration of situational and temporal boundaries for total population of start-ups. From a selection perspective, entrepreneurship. In the present study, phenomena at the Aldrich argues that the initial set of start-ups is subjected to individual and/or team level constitute the main focus and forces beyond their control, leaving a small population of context. This context may, or may not, lead to a particular “blessed survivors.” This means that the fate and features of outcome of interest—in the case of the present study, to new the initial population of start-ups—preferably the entire popu- venture survival. Thus, in line with Welter (2011), this lation of ventures that are started by either a solo founder or a dimension of context is social. But it is not the only context: team—must be ascertained. Furthermore, it implies a recogni- At the core of Welter’s argument, context at a “higher” level tion of the fact that factors affecting entrepreneurial failure and of analysis inevitably interacts with “lower” analytical lev- success vary over time. Changes in the economy, in govern- els, such as social contexts, resulting in a context-specific ment policy and regulation, and so on, in one era allow some outcome. Contexts thereby operate as cross-level effects. ventures to adapt and survive, while the same changes drive Welter (2011) exemplifies this higher level with an institu- others toward failure. However, these changes may be irrele- tional dimension—in general terms, a societal context con- vant in another era. Aldrich’s proposal is straightforward: sisting of culture, society, and the prevailing political and Until organizations from differing contexts are compared, 4 SAGE Open there is no basis for drawing conclusions about contextual Theory and Hypotheses differences. Entrepreneurial Founding Teams and New In accordance with this discussion, our research frame- work aims at studying the effect of different contexts at Venture Survival different levels. This includes the explicit purpose to mea- Already Cole (1959) identified the entrepreneurial team as a sure—or at least the ability to control for—different pre- central phenomenon in entrepreneurship research, arguing vailing contexts when ventures are founded. One type of that the social context in which the entrepreneurial functions context thus pertains to social context (team or solo start- or activities that initiate and maintain a new venture “pro- ups; team heterogeneity/homogeneity; team gender com- ceeds in relationship to the situation internal to the unit itself, positions), while another, “higher level” context, concerns the social group that really constitutes the unit, and to the the business dimension—in the present case, the industrial economic, political, and social circumstances—institutions, sector in which the ventures enter (Welter, 2011, p. 168), practices, and ideas which surround the unit” (p. 8). Later, and the prevailing institutional and macroeconomic con- Gartner (1989) emphasized the collective perspective, under- ditions at the start of each venture (societal context). lining the need to move away from the single-entrepreneur Therefore, time—in the sense of the “historical condi- perspective. Since then, the interest in venture teams as ana- tions” prevailing when the venture was founded—and lytical units has increased. Attempts to capture the venture changes in those conditions over time are to be regarded team as a social phenomenon in the 1980s and 1990s resulted as context. in several interesting results. Survey articles indicate that ventures founded by teams perform better than those started Methodological Approach by single founders: In their overview, Cooper and Gimeno- Following Aldrich (2009), in particular Martinez et al. Gascon (1992) reported that in four of five studies, ventures (2011), our aim was to sample entire initial population of started by teams performed better than those started by single venture start-ups—that is, the mundane, initial popula- founders. Furthermore, Storey (1998) found seven studies tion of start-ups. It also includes the objective to measure that tested the hypothesis that ventures started by more than the survival of those venture start-ups. In several respects, one founder are more likely to grow than those started by a we are able to accomplish this. While we are not able to single person. Five studies indicated support for this hypoth- solve all methodological and theoretical problems—we esis. Organizational survival is generally a less employed cannot capture the entire contextual “lens,” nor are we independent variable in studies of entrepreneurial teams: In able to investigate the full dynamic relationship between their review, Zhou and Rosini (2015) found that in the opera- all context dimensions—our research strategy with a pro- tionalization of venture performance, growth was the most spective cohort approach (Aldrich, 2009; Lippman & common variable. In a review of a dozen empirical studies, Aldrich, 2016) significantly increases the possibility to Lechler (2001) found that 10 studies indicated a significant include and control for several types of contexts at vari- positive relation between the existence of an entrepreneurial ous levels, including chronological time. A cohort is an team and venture growth, while no clear results were found aggregate of individual units, and differences between in the two studies that used survival as the dependent vari- cohorts may prevail over both short and long periods able; for instance, Cooper, Gimeno-Gascon, and Woo (1994) (Glenn, 1977). Our empirical data consist of several com- found that ventures with more than one founder were more plete entry cohorts of venture start-ups followed over a likely to grow but not to survive. predefined period of 3 years—our approach is thus longi- More recently, Stam and Schutjens (2006), investigating a tudinal and prospective. Ideally, entry cohorts embody all large sample of ventures in a one-cohort longitudinal study, foundings in a specific year or period; this methodology show that a higher proportion of solo start-ups were termi- has apparent advantages when analyzing founding teams nated within a 6-year period as compared with ventures started and venture performance: A cross-sectional (and even a by a team. Similarly, in a large-sample, multisector study by retrospective) evaluation of solo start-ups and team start- Gueguen (2013), the survival rate for ventures started by ups will be less able to uncover the dynamics that are entrepreneurial teams is significantly higher over a shorter particularly relevant for firms in the first critical years of period (3 years), but this difference does not hold over longer their existence (Stam & Schutjens, 2006). In line with periods. Recently, highlighting the complex relationship this, all joint-stock companies that were founded in a par- between solo-start-ups, start-up teams, gender, and business ticular year are sampled: There is no exclusion of ven- failure, Yang and del Carmen Triana (2017) study a represen- tures of a particular size or sector, gender, or of ventures tative sample of a little more than 10,000 U.S. start-ups, fol- founded by teams and solo entrepreneurs. Thus, we are lowed longitudinally over a 6-year period. There was no able to take account of the initial social gender diversity significant difference in failure between businesses started by of start-ups (Aldrich, 2009; Lippman & Aldrich, 2016; solo-entrepreneurs and those started by teams in general. Martinez et al., 2011). Furthermore, nonspousal same-sex teams—that is, teams Box and Larsson Segerlind 5 consisting of either all-male or all-female teams—did not mediating qualities of the social interaction in the team have reveal any difference in performance as compared with mixed- a positive impact on venture performance. Prytherch et al. gender teams or (as noted above) solo-start-ups. (2012) study the formation of network groups and the effect Past results are therefore not entirely decisive regarding of gender differences on group formation in all-male, all- the effect of teams or founding teams (or the [gender] com- female, and mixed-gender teams, finding that early relations position of teams). Several researchers have emphasized to group members, team bonding, and group dynamics are that team ventures should not be seen as an unproblematic formed earlier in homogeneous gender groups. Therefore, it concept, one reason being the problem of holding an entre- has been argued that the resource-based view may be too nar- preneurial team together (Eisenhardt & Schoonhoven, 1990; row; models and theoretical frameworks that also include Lechler, 2001). Diversity in groups is often regarded as a factors of interpersonal social relationships and social simi- “double-edged sword”—Milliken and Martins (1996, p. larity—including gender—are necessary in empirical 403) and Birley and Stockley (2000, p. 296) used the same research (Hellerstedt, 2009; Ruef, 2010; Yang & Aldrich, metaphor when discussing entrepreneurial teams and ven- 2014). However, and as discussed above, Yang and del ture performance. The start-up process in a venture contains Carmen Triana’s (2017) more recent results question earlier risks, uncertainties, and ambiguities (Sarasvathy, 2001), and models on teams versus solo entrepreneurs and team gender it is proposed that entrepreneurial teams are a social favor- homogeneity. able context to parallel manage risks, uncertainties, and The focus on the contextual aspects of entrepreneurial sense making by seizing, exploring, and exploiting venture teams makes the theoretical assumptions visible in earlier opportunities (Larsson Segerlind, 2009). Therefore, on one research about diversity in entrepreneurial teams: Especially hand, the team can enable innovative development and fast Harrison and Klein’s (2007) framework on different con- growth; on the other hand, it can be a source of conflict and structs of diversity may clarify past shortcomings and mixed instability which may lead to the dissolution of the venture results in earlier studies. They do not only argue that diver- (Hambrick, Cho, & Chen, 1996; Kanter, 1983; Khan, sity is often constructed in terms of variety, separation, or/ Breitenecker, & Schwarz, 2014). Thus, even if past research and disparity, but each of these constructs also brings differ- on the relationship between venture survival and entrepre- ent theoretical assumptions. Diversity in types of variety can neurial teams is inconclusive, we formulate the following be said to represent the resource-based theoretical perspec- first hypothesis: tive; the diversity-type separation is more related to social similarity attraction theory. The “missing link” in entrepre- Hypothesis 1: The presence of an entrepreneurial found- neurial team research is the use of diversity in terms of dis- ing team increases the likelihood of new venture survival. parity. Diversity in type of disparity is rather connected to more traditional sociological theories in terms of social power, inequality, status, privileges, and so on (Ragins & Entrepreneurial Founding Team Composition, Sundstrom, 1989). Power is here defined as “influence by Gender, and New Venture Survival one person over others, stemming from a position in an orga- The first attempts to explain both the formation and (assumed) nization, from interpersonal relationships, or from individual performance superiority of teams were based on the assump- characteristics” (p. 51), and can be categorized as objective tion that a higher degree of variety of resources and capabili- or perceived. Disparity as a diversity construct is rare in ties in the team could explain their success (Kamm & Nurick, empirical research on entrepreneurial teams as well as in 1993; Sandberg, 1992). However, in empirical findings, het- theoretical interpretations of outcomes. However, there are erogeneity showed no direct significant impact on venture exceptions (Hellerstedt, 2009; Yang & Aldrich, 2014; Yang performance (Lechler, 2001). Since the early 2000s, scholars & del Carmen Triana, 2017); for instance, Hellerstedt (2009) have tried to develop more valid concepts and models. found that disparity (vertical diversity) in terms of differ- Forbes, Borchert, Zellmer-Bruhn, and Sapienza (2006) found ences in status was a promising theoretical perspective as it two ways of classifying the literature. Team formation is could explain much of her findings related to new venture either a resource-seeking behavior or a manifestation of team dynamics. Yang and Aldrich (2014) also found vertical interpersonal attraction, where trust and relationships are diversity in terms of differences in gender stereotypes as a already established. The latter perspective is more related to strong mechanism for explaining gender inequalities and the diversity in terms of separation (Harrison & Klein, 2007), constraining of women’s access to power positions in the with the assumption that homogeneity in entrepreneurial entrepreneurial team. teams is not only positively related to team formation Zhou and Rosini (2015) argue that due to a limited num- (Aldrich & Kim, 2007; Ruef, Aldrich, & Carter, 2003) but ber of studies and inconsistent results—and the use of differ- also to performance. It is argued that homogeneity in team ent performance measurements—no conclusions can be composition is related to a high degree of trust, social cohe- drawn regarding the effect of entrepreneurial team diversity. sion, a lower degree of conflicts and better communication Additional reasons for inconsistent findings in the past (Lechler, 2001; Ruef, 2010; Zhou & Rosini, 2015); the research may be improper measurements of team diversity 6 SAGE Open (Harrison & Klein, 2007). However, scant empirical research underperform relative to male-owned ones: Females do not supports the notion of a positive link between gender seem to be disadvantaged. This result is analogous to the find- homophily, especially male homophily, and venture survival ings of Kalleberg and Leicht (1991), Cooper et al. (1994), and 1 year after the start (Ruef, 2010). Therefore, and before we Fairlie and Robb (2009) for the U.S., and to Gottschalk and develop hypotheses specifically related to gender and the Niefert’s (2013) study on German ventures. Similarly, Du gender composition of founding teams, we first hypothesize Rietz and Henrekson’s (2000) large-scale study of Swedish on how team gender diversity and homogeneity affect new ventures maintains that when controlling for structural differ- venture survival. Defining team homogeneity as ventures ences among entrepreneurs and firms, performance differ- founded by either all-male entrepreneurial teams or all- ences between men and women disappear. female teams, we formulate the following hypothesis: The above discussion can generate disagreeing assump- tions on the particular effects of gender and gender homoge- Hypothesis 2: Gender homogeneity in the entrepreneur- neity on venture performance when using empirical data that ial founding team increases the likelihood of new venture are both historical and modern. It can be recalled that survival. Hypothesis 2 states that gender homophily will increase the likelihood of venture survival. Consequently, mixed-gender Women’s entrepreneurship has been a well-established team ventures will have lower survival probabilities. Past research agenda since the 1990s. The biological sex of entre- empirical results have nonetheless found that male homoph- preneurs, and the analytical distinction between biological ily in particular has a stronger impact on future venture per- sex and gender (i.e., the social construction of sex), have formance (Ruef, 2010). Even if Yang and del Carmen Triana therefore become a commonly included variable; stronger (2017) were not able to separate all-male and all-female linkages between female entrepreneurship and gender theory teams, they found that female entrepreneurs’ businesses are are evident in recent research (Holmquist & Carter, 2009). A more likely to fail as compared with male entrepreneurs. central discussion of female entrepreneurship concerns Therefore, we formulate the following two related hypothe- whether women are systematically discriminated, suggesting ses on gender similarity: that ventures owned and/or managed by women exhibit a poorer performance relative to those owned by males. A Hypothesis 3a: Male gender homogeneity in the entre- “gender gap”—explained by systematic or structural factors preneurial founding team increases the likelihood of new in society—has been acknowledged to deprive women of venture survival. vital resources such as education, networks, and capital Hypothesis 3b: Solo start-ups founded by males increase (Anna, Chandler, Jansen, & Mero, 2000; Watson, 2002). Past the likelihood of new venture survival. research has shown that women entrepreneurs in the start-up stage or in the growth phase have less access to financing and venture capital (Gatewood, Brush, Carter, Greene, & Hart, Institutional Transformation, Gender, and New 2009; Marlow & Patton, 2005). For that reason, businesses Venture Survival owned by women underperform by displaying smaller growth The final aim of our study was to investigate whether the and smaller profits as well as smaller survival chances. likelihood of survival for female-founded ventures—solo However, Klapper and Parker’s (2011) review of the extant entrepreneurs and teams—has changed over time. Until now, literature finds that while there are significant differences in we have in our framework focused on the social contexts, but performance between male- and female-owned firms, past as Welter (2011) claims, the “contextual lens” turns the atten- empirical research does not systematically indicate the exis- tion toward multiple context dimensions and how they are tence of a gender gap. In essence, two major schools of connected. As all institutions, gender relationships are struc- thought exist in this research: Liberal feminist theory holds tured according to both formal and informal rules, or institu- that men and women are equally comparable. The underper- tions (North, 1990; Rosenberg & Birdzell, 1986; Welter, formance of ventures owned by women can be explained by 2011). Therefore, institutions structure human exchange, and systematic discriminating factors in society—if discrimina- both formal and informal institutions are subject to change tion were not to exist, women’s and men’s enterprises should over time, especially in the long term. Formal institutions, perform equally well. Social feminist theory suggests pro- such as constitutions and laws, are complementary to infor- found differences between men and women in behavior and mal institutions, and sometimes they even supplant informal in choice of strategy. For example, women are found to be institutions to increase efficiency, defining the behavioral more risk averse, and they enter into industries that have less constraints of economic agents such as entrepreneurs. During growth opportunities. Thus, differences in choices should not uncertainty, the function of formal institutions is to facilitate imply any observed differences in performance between exchange. Informal institutions are derived from culture, women- and men-operated firms (Robb & Watson, 2012). regulating societal behaviors; cultural traits have a tendency Robb and Watson find that when controlling for context at to survive over time, often longer than formal institutions; several analytical levels, female-owned new ventures do not Box and Larsson Segerlind 7 and North (1990) maintains that the combination of formal saw the light of the day, and economic policy has distinctly and informal rules defines the institution. This combination acknowledged and actively supported women entrepreneurs provides the basis for persistent incremental institutional in Sweden in a few recent decades (Wottle & Blomberg, change in the game between agents and interests competing 2011). for economic, social, and political power. Following these insights and the suggestions from Yang Changes in formal and informal institutions are seldom and Aldrich (2014), we make the assumption that the institu- synchronized; a formal institutional change may not always tional context affects the social context for women entrepre- alter the informal institution and social norms, at least not in neurs in the sense that an institutionalized gendered logic, the short term. That is also why informal structures and based on unequal gender stereotypes, may still be a hidden social relationships, such as discrimination, may endure over structure and a power mechanism that constrains women long periods of time. The implications of institutions on entrepreneurs. Time is a contextual factor; the formal and entrepreneurship in general (Baumol, 1996), on entrepre- informal societal conditions for women entrepreneurs have neurial entry and entrepreneurial intentions (e.g., Stenholm, most likely improved over the course of time. Thus, and con- Acs, & Wuebker, 2013), as well as on female entrepreneur- ditional on the previous hypothesis (H3), we formulate the ship (e.g., Estrin & Mickiewicz, 2011) are today significant following hypothesis: research and policy agendas. It is often concluded that insti- tutional arrangements affect entrepreneurial outcomes and Hypothesis 4: Changes in the institutional and societal intentions, such as entry into self-employment. context for women entrepreneurs affect gender differ- Much research is regularly cross sectional, and institu- ences in the likelihood of new venture survival. tional change over longer periods is therefore often difficult to include in the analysis (Aldrich, 2009; Martinez et al., Method and Data 2011; Welter, 2011). However, we may think of institutions as either favorable or unfavorable contexts, or conditions that As noted in passing, the methodological approach in this will affect particular economic actors or groups, and these study is to use complete entry cohorts of ventures, founded contexts are subjected to change over time (Rosenberg & during different periods. Our data consist of six individual Birdzell, 1986). As in several other developed economies, the birth cohorts of Swedish joint-stock companies, founded in institutional context for women entrepreneurs in Sweden and 1930, 1942, 1950, 2001, 2003, and 2005. The dataset covers for women as a social group has changed profoundly during a total of 22,974 joint-stock company start-ups, and records the last 100 years (Bladh, 1997). Significant economic new venture survival in each cohort over a 3-year period. reforms in the 1860s gave men and women formal equal With the aim of producing a long dataset that is as homoge- rights to run a business, but this did only pertain to unmarried neous as possible, we have combined very different source women. An unmarried woman had no majority but she had materials, and we utilize two subsets of data. One subset— the right to apply for majority at court (her right was the right consisting of the cohorts from 1930, 1942, and 1950—is to apply), otherwise her father would be her legal guardian. If constructed from unprinted, archival public sources (Swedish a woman with majority married, she once again received a Patents and Registrations Office, preserved at the Swedish legal guardian: the husband. If widowed, a woman received National Archives). During the assembly of this particular majority. Women formally received equal rights in 1921, but subset, information on the company founders pertaining to they were still subjected to several informal and structural team size and to gender was recorded. The second subset— constraints in numerous ways (Axelsson, 2006). Both infor- the cohorts from 2001, 2003, and 2005—consists of data mal and formal institutional conditions, such as restricted commonly not readily available in public databases. It has rights to control personal assets, remained for women well been made available exclusively to us by the Swedish Agency into the early 1950s: Bersbo’s (2012) study of Swedish wom- for Growth Policy Analysis. en’s economic independence and women’s struggle for gen- As noted, our aim was to create a homogeneous database der equality shows that informal institutions, and a discourse in the sense that independent variables in the study should which deprived women of equal economic rights, remained not differ or be biased, neither within nor between different during a large part of the 20th century. Above all, Bersbo birth cohorts. Specifically, indicators for firm survival, gen- shows that the progression toward women’s economic rights der, line of business, and corporate form should be consis- was an extended and gradual process: political and economic tently defined. This is not an uncomplicated task, considering reforms in the early 1920s, the late 1930s, and in the early that very different sources have been utilized. Our dataset is 1970s gradually improved the formal conditions for women not flawless: To begin with, and as we only have two obser- economically (see also Sundin, 1995; Svanström, 2003). It is vation points in time for each cohort, we are not able to study not until the 1980s, in particular the 1990s, that we can whether a venture experiences succession during the 3 years observe a more distinct change in both informal and formal of observation. Thus, we measure how certain characteristics institutions for female entrepreneurship. New types of wom- of the ventures upon founding—team, team composition, en’s social movements, focusing on female entrepreneurship, and gender—would affect venture survival (Carroll & 8 SAGE Open Khessina, 2005; Ruef, 2010). Furthermore, our dataset entrepreneurs is based on the organization of public records excludes other corporate forms such as trading firms or sole in Sweden; this organization is, in turn, based on formal laws proprietorships. To be able to make valid comparisons, we and regulations. Between 1912 and 1948, companies were have chosen this type of corporate form, and the reason is subjected to the Joint Stock Companies Act of 1910, effec- that the three cohorts from 1930, 1942, and 1950 concern tive from 1912 (1910 års aktiebolagslag). The act stated that joint-stock companies only. Historical cohorts on other cor- the owners (the shareholders) had the function as the com- porate forms are virtually impossible to collect as no archives pany’s deciding body. The act of 1910 was replaced by a have been systematically preserved. Furthermore, the older more detailed act in 1944 (1944 års aktiebolagslag), effec- subset consists of companies founded in the capital of tive from 1948. A more precise division between the man- Stockholm as it takes considerable time to create a birth agement, the board, and the owners was introduced. The act cohort of companies from preserved public records archives. from 1948 was replaced by a new act (effective to 2006) in The subset of firms founded in 2001, 2003, and 2005 covers 1975, further strengthening the position of the board (af the entire country, and therefore it covers substantially more Sandeberg, 2005). Yet, even if the legislation has changed, companies. However, the 1930-1950 dataset includes a the nominal/legal definition of company founders has practi- rather large share of the total number of joint-stock compa- cally remained intact. Throughout the entire period of study nies entering in these years—for example, Cohort 1930 cov- in the present article (1930-2005), company founders are ers approximately 22% of all newly founded joint-stock defined as those that own shares in the company (i.e., own- companies in Sweden that year (Statistics Sweden, 1940, ers). Board members are appointed in the memorandum; in 1951). At present, we are not able to evaluate whether com- more than nine of 10 cases, individuals who constitute the panies founded in Stockholm differ from those founded in company founders are also those who form the board. the rest of the country. Therefore, the definitions of ownership and control strongly Another factor for which we are presently unable to con- overlap. In the present study, and in official Swedish statis- trol is the start-up size of the ventures, as we lack suitable tics, founders and founding teams are defined as the indi- indicators; we acknowledge that there is ample support for viduals who own shares in the company upon founding, and the notion that business performance and survival are posi- the empirical definition of company founders in the present tively correlated with both firm age and firm size (e.g., Hart, study thus includes the individuals with an economic, execu- 2000). In addition, while the older subset (1930-1950) mea- tive, and strategic interest. This nominal definition therefore sures entry and survival at the level of the firm, the other relates to recent definitions of entrepreneurial teams subset measures survival at an aggregated level—specifi- (Schjoedt & Kraus, 2009). cally, it records frequencies of particular categories of ven- Both entrepreneurial founding teams and solo founders, tures, pertaining to founder teams, gender, sector, and so on. as well as the gender of founders, are uniformly measured For that reason, we have aggregated the data in the 1930- across cohorts. The gender variable relates to biological sex. 1950 subset, thus “harmonizing” it with the 2001-2003 data. The independent variables “single founder” and “founder Our data are analyzed with binary logistic regression team” are defined as “one founder” or “two or more found- using frequency weights: The data have been arranged such ers,” respectively; this procedure is in line with the past that we have one observation per response category at the research (e.g., Stam & Schutjens, 2006). We are presently start, t , and one observation after 3 years, at t , for that par- unable to include more fine-graded measurements of the size 0 3 ticular response category. Survival over 3 years is the depen- of teams or the nature of the particular (gender) mix of indi- dent variable, and it is a binary outcome (0/1)—consequently, vidual founding teams. Ventures founded by a solo (i.e., one) for each response category, we measure the survival fre- entrepreneur are coded either as “male founder” or as “female quency between t and t . Overall, the different variants of founder”; ventures founded by teams are categorized into 0 3 categories give 120 rows of observations for the total of three categories: ““all male,” ““all female,” and ““mixed 22,974 ventures. It is acknowledged that the relative imbal- gender.” ance in sample sizes between the cohorts founded 1930-1950 To test the hypothesis on institutional conditions for and 2001-2005, respectively, may influence our results. female entrepreneurs (H4) and following past historical research, we have divided our sample according to institu- tional conditions. Ventures founded in 1930, 1942, and 1950 Variables are considered to be dependent on one particular type of As noted in passing, the dependent variable in the analysis is institutional condition for female entrepreneurs; ventures venture survival, and the dataset consists of observations founded in 2001, 2003, and 2005 are considered to be depen- (frequencies) of the number of ventures entering a particular dent on a qualitatively different set of conditions. It is year (cohort) and of the number of ventures in that cohort assumed that these distinctions indicate and can measure that survived after 3 years. We also use a set of independent increasingly benign conditions for female entrepreneurs. variables and controls. The operational definition of entre- Admittedly, this is a very crude coding of the institutional preneurial founding teams and ventures founded by single conditions. Moreover, the interval(s) between individual Box and Larsson Segerlind 9 Table 1. Descriptive Statistics. Frequencies and 3-Year Survival Rates. Survival Cohort 1912 1930 1942 1950 2001 2003 2005 N % rate (%) Solo venture start-ups 5.2 8.0 11.5 8.3 58.0 57.6 56.7 12,536 54.2 77.9 Single female founder 0.0 1.1 0.5 0.2 8.1 8.3 10.6 1,981 8.6 73.7 Single male founder 5.2 6.9 11.1 8.1 49.9 49.3 46.2 10,555 45.7 78.8 Team venture start ups 94.0 92.0 88.5 91.7 42.0 42.4 43.3 10,581 45.7 81.1 All female 0.0 1.3 0.5 1.0 2.1 2.3 2.9 559 2.4 78.5 All male 88.1 62.8 59.2 65.5 25.1 24.5 25.0 6,350 27.5 81.9 Mixed gender 6.0 27.9 28.7 25.2 14.8 15.6 15.3 3,672 15.9 79.9 Survival rate (%) 64.2 67.3 90.7 93.1 73.2 77.0 85.9 N ventures 134 452 407 504 6,620 6,578 8,413 23,108 100.0 79.5 GDP growth (%), t –t 12.38 −3.31 7.31 7.32 4.66 8.29 8.30 –1 2 Note. Cohort 1912 is included in the descriptive statistics but is excluded from the analyses (Tables 2-4). The significance of italic text denotes sub-groups. cohorts and periods differ substantially—for instance, the of our empirical database have the potential to generate new period 1930-1950 covers 20 years (a long period during knowledge and new research questions. which there were substantial changes in exogenous condi- tions), while the 2001-2005-period is considerably shorter. Results Furthermore, this approach includes other changes of the environment—political, societal, economic, environmental, We present descriptive statistics for survival rates, teams, technological, and so on—which cannot be directly mea- and gender composition in seven cohorts in Table 1, not sured. However, from our readings of past research only the six cohorts that are included in the statistical analy- (Axelsson, 2006; Bersbo, 2012; Bladh, 1997; Svanström, sis. First, it can be noted that the survival rate over 3 years 2003; Wottle & Blomberg, 2011), we theorize that both atti- differed substantially between cohorts: Around 67% of the tudes and formal conditions—including policy measures— ventures survived for 3 years or more in the cohort from toward female entrepreneurship in Sweden have improved 1930, while the highest 3-year survival rate is found among over the period of investigation. firms in the cohorts from 1942 to 1950 (above 90%). In the We also use control variables in the analysis. Cohort is a cohorts from the 2000s, Cohort 2005 has the highest sur- control variable; furthermore, to control for the potential vival rate, which is nearly 86%. Overall, a little less than influence of macroenvironmental conditions at the time of 80% of the ventures in the entire dataset survived for 3 founding on venture survival, we include a control repre- years. The variation in survival between cohorts has no sim- sented by the GDP per capita growth rate (between t and t ple, straightforward explanation. However, the first years –1 2 fixed prices) at the time of founding of each cohort (Schön & for the ventures in Cohorts 1912 and 1930 coincide with Krantz, 2015). Furthermore, we include a control for indus- worsening macroeconomic conditions—in the case of try sector. The 2001-2005 dataset is also categorized into Cohort 1912, the outbreak of World War I in 1914; in the two main industry sectors: “manufacturing” and “services case of Cohort 1930, the economic depression in the early and trade” (Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis). 1930s. Furthermore, ventures in Cohorts 1942 and 1950 Admittedly, this is a very simple and “broad” definition of were founded during a period of economic growth and eco- industry—particularly when considering that, within these nomic protection; in particular, during World War II, the broad sectors, there are industries with higher (lower) risk Swedish economy was strongly regulated, and it expanded and higher (lower) growth potential, and so on. However, significantly. Similarly, in the early 2000s, Swedish eco- past research shows that industry affiliation may affect ven- nomic growth fell significantly; between 2000 and 2001, it ture performance in general (e.g., Audretsch & Mahmood, was less than 1% and merely 1.8% in 2002 (Schön & Krantz, 1995) and performance in female-owned ventures in particu- 2015). The economy gradually recovered, and it is likely lar (e.g., Du Rietz & Henrekson, 2000). We have coded the that the increasing 3-year survival rates in Cohorts 2001, ventures in the older subset (1930-1950) in a similar 2003, and 2005 partially reflect this process. Overall, these manner. very different survival rates between the entry cohorts It is acknowledged that possible disadvantages with our clearly reveal the advantages of a multicohort study. If we empirical data lie in an inability to precisely measure and/or are not able to control for the (historical) period of entry, and control for several factors. Furthermore, there is an imbalance the fact that one set of ventures may have systematic and in the size of the two main datasets (1930-1950; 2001-2005) structural differences in survival as compared with other which may influence the analysis. However, the explorative sets of ventures, we may run the risk of confusing the factors approach of our study and the prospective longitudinal design that affect venture performance. 10 SAGE Open Table 2. Teams and Gender Homogeneity. Binary Logistic Regression. 1 2 3a (restricted) 3b (full) Constant 0.681*** 0.618*** 0.681*** 0.630*** (0.0725) (0.0652) (0.0737) (0.0729) Cohort 1.035*** 1.039*** 1.039*** 1.039*** (0.0090) (0.0094) (0.0113) (0.0094) Manufacturing sector 1.030 1.024 1.032 1.025 (0.0260) (0.0261) (0.0368) (0.0262) Macroeconomic growth 0.991*** 0.992*** 0.989*** 0.992*** (0.0028) (0.0029) (0.0037) (0.0029) Founding team 1.049** 1.060** (0.0203) (0.0230) Founding team gender homogeneity 1.026 1.027 (0.0309) (0.0230) Log likelihood −60.111 −96.162 −92.957 −134.244 Chi-square 32.437*** 38.192*** 21.888*** 38.962*** AIC/BIC 128.223/162.733 202.325/245.462 195.913/235.161 280.488/332.253 Degrees of freedom 3 4 4 5 N ventures 22,974 22,974 10,445 22,974 Note. Standard errors in parentheses. AIC = Akaike information criterion; BIC = Bayesian information criterion. *, **, and *** indicate statistical significance at the 10%, 5%, and 1% level, respectively. Overall, the social structure of our data (Table 1) resem- difference is nearly 5 percentage points. Similarly, ventures bles other datasets on solo and team ventures (cf. Yang & del founded by all male teams reveal a higher survival rate than Carmen Triana, 2017), particularly concerning our own ventures founded by all females in our data—nearly 82% cohorts from the 2000s. For instance, nearly half of the new against 78.5%. Mixed-gender founding teams position them- businesses were started by teams, and there is an overall selves in between (79.9%). dominance of males (which diminishes over time). We ask in our study if differences in venture survival can Furthermore, the descriptive statistics preliminary suggests be explained by team gender composition, gender, and insti- that ventures founded by females (single founders as well as tutional change, analyzing the data with binary logistic teams) have a lower survival rate as compared with those regression. The first results are presented in Table 2. founded by males. Around 54% of the ventures were started Coefficients are reported as odds ratios: If a coefficient by a single founder, whereas some 46% were started by a exceeds 1.0, the effect of an independent variable increases team. We also observe variation across time. No venture in the probability of survival; if less than 1.0, the probability Cohort 1912 was started solely by women—neither as solo- decreases. Model 1 is the baseline model, controlling for start-ups nor in teams—and a smaller share of women than cohort, sector (service/trade and manufacturing), and mac- men was involved in mixed-gender teams. The figure is also roenvironmental conditions at the time of founding and dur- relatively low for the Cohorts 1930, 1942, and 1950, in both ing the first 2 years of each cohort (GDP growth). Model 2 absolute and relative terms. In this particular dataset, it introduces a variable for ventures started by founding teams. became less common to found a venture with a team (falling As can be observed, and when controlling for cohort, sector, from around 90% in the early 1900s to around 40% in the and macroconditions, the presence of teams in a venture sig- early 2000s). Similarly, mixed-gender founding teams were nificantly increases the probability of survival. This result somewhat more common during the first half of the 20th supports Hypothesis 1: Founding teams will increase the century as compared with the early 21st century. Without likelihood to survive. doubt, the share of females engaged in new venture creation Hypothesis 2 proposed that gender homogeneity increases (either as single founders or in teams) seems to have increased the likelihood of survival. Model 3 aims at testing this hypoth- over time; this is also supported by other data (Statistics esis, and the model comes in two variants that both introduce Sweden, various years). However, as can be observed, the the variable for ventures founded by homogeneous teams majority of ventures are founded by males. There is also a (either all male or all female). Model 3a is a “restricted” model variation across different categories of ventures. Specifically, and only analyzes ventures founded by teams—solo start-ups the overall 3-year survival rate of ventures started by entre- are here excluded from the analysis. The model shows that it preneurial teams is higher (81.1%) than those founded as cannot be established that team gender homogeneity per se solo start-ups (77.9%). For solo venture start-ups, male increased the survival prospects in comparison with teams founders have higher survival rates than female founders; the consisting of both males and females. Similarly, Model 3b, Box and Larsson Segerlind 11 Table 3. Gender Composition of Teams and Solo Start-Ups. Binary Logistic Regression. 4a (restricted) 4b (full) 5a (restricted) 5b (full) Constant 0.699*** 0.687*** 0.559*** 0.655*** (0.0710) (0.0626) (0.1336) (0.0654) Cohort 1.039*** 1.040*** 1.066** 1.039*** (0.0114) (0.0094) (0.0182) (0.0094) Manufacturing sector 1.031 1.020 1.022 1.023 (0.0369) (0.0263) (0.0274) (0.0262) Macroeconomic growth 0.989*** 0.992** 0.994 0.992** (0.0037) (0.0029) (0.0047) (0.0029) Solo start-up 0.947** (0.0231) Team start-up 1.039* (0.0210) Founding team gender composition Mixed-gender team 0.973 0.968 (0.0314) (0.0309) All-female team 0.985 0.944* (0.0669) (0.0328) Single female founder 0.946* 0.933* (0.0325) (0.0376) Log likelihood −115.439 −186.810 −122.833 −187.002 Chi-square 21.936*** 42.030*** 48.948*** 41.646*** AIC/BIC 242.879/289.977 387.621/448.013 255.667/298.490 386.004/437.769 Degrees of freedom 5 6 4 5 N ventures 10,445 22,974 12,529 22,974 Note. Standard errors in parentheses. AIC = Akaike information criterion; BIC = Bayesian information criterion. *, **, and *** indicate statistical significance at the 10%, 5%, and 1% level, respectively. using the entire sample (also including solo start-ups), gives thus receives no support. However, when using solo start-ups no support for the assumption that founding team homogene- as a control variable (having a significantly lower survival ity increases the survival performance. Even if the odds ratio rate than ventures founded by teams; cf. Models 2 and 3a), is greater than 1.0, it is not significant in either variant of the full-sample analysis (Model 4b) shows that all-female Model 3. Therefore, the second hypothesis (H2) receives no founding teams had a significantly lower probability of sur- support. vival as compared with ventures founded by all-male teams Table 3 presents results with the aim of testing the third (significant at the 10% level; level of significance = .08). hypothesis (H3), which stated that male gender homogeneity Thus, given that we include all ventures in the dataset, con- in a founding team will lead to a higher probability of sur- trolling for the presence and the significantly negative sur- vival as compared with other team compositions (H3a), and vival probability of solo start-ups, our results indicate that that solo start-ups by males will have a higher probability of all-female teams had a lower probability of survival with survival (H3b). The results in Table 3 give partial support for their ventures. the notion that all-male founding teams perform better than However, these results are not entirely conclusive, as other team compositions. Specifically, they perform better there may well be no substantial difference(s) between dif- than all-female-founded ventures (however, no significant ferent team constellations. Specifically, it is highly probable difference is found between all-male and mixed-gender that solo start-ups are, in fact, responsible for the obtained founder teams). Like Model 3, Model 4 comes in two vari- (and rather low) significant effect for female-team-founded ants: one restricted version that excludes all solo start-ups, ventures in Model 4b: When including only solo-founded and the other full version that includes all solo start-ups. ventures is an alternative model (not reported here) and using Model 4a, which only focuses on ventures founded by teams, solo-ventures founded by males as the reference category, it shows no significant difference in survival between mixed- turns out that male-founded ventures have a statistically gender founding teams and all-male founding teams, even if higher probability (close to the 5% level: significance = .06; the odds ratio is less than 1.0. Similarly, ventures founded by odds ratio = 1.074) of surviving with their business as com- all-female teams exhibit no significant difference in survival pared with solo ventures founded by females. In fact, this as compared with all-male founding teams. Hypothesis 3a result mirrors the obtained result on solo-founded ventures 12 SAGE Open Table 4. Gender and Institutional Conditions. Binary Logistic Regression. 6a (2001-2005) 6b (1930-2005) 7 Constant 0.559*** 0.638*** 0.431*** (0.1336) (0.0700) (0.1080) Cohort 1.066*** 1.036*** 1.094*** (0.0182) (0.0090) (0.0250) Manufacturing sector 1.022 1.024 1.018 (0.0274) (0.0260) (0.0240) Macroeconomic growth 0.994** 0.991** 1.001** (0.0047) (0.0030) (0.0028) Male-founded ventures 1.057* 1.066** 1.491*** (0.0330) (0.0330) (0.0790) Mixed-team ventures 1.057 1.068* 1.426*** (0.0400) (0.0390) (0.1010) Male-founded ventures × p2001/2005 0.710*** (0.0740) Mixed-team ventures × p2001/2005 0.742** (0.1000) Log likelihood −98.610 −146.719 −138.461 Chi-square 37.594*** 63.732*** 47.387*** AIC/BIC 207.221/249.215 303.438/345.704 288.922/339.641 Degrees of freedom 5 5 7 N ventures 21,611 22,974 22,974 Note. AIC = Akaike information criterion; BIC = Bayesian information criterion. *, **, and *** indicate statistical significance at the 10%, 5%, and 1% level, respectively. by females in Model 5a (reported below). Hence, we can there was a positive increase in the overall institutional con- here only conclude that the assumption of female founding ditions for women entrepreneurs during the century. In pre- teams being less (or more) prone to survive as compared liminary tests, we constructed separate models for ventures with other constellations—males or mixed-gender teams— founded by all-female entrepreneurial teams and for solo receives scant support. Nonetheless, these results also indi- start-ups founded by female entrepreneurs, respectively. No cate that analyses of samples only consisting of team-founded significant results were obtained; furthermore, the number of ventures (such as in Model 4a), and that do not control for observations on female solo-entrepreneurs in the older other types of firms that enter or exist during the same inter- cohorts is very few. We therefore test the final hypothesis val (here: solo start-ups), may produce different and poten- (H4) by including indicators of all types of female-founded tially skewed results. ventures, irrespective of whether they are founded by teams Model 5 aims at testing Hypothesis H3b: Model 5a is or are founded as solo start-ups. restricted and only includes solo start-ups; here, the variable Table 4 presents two models. As can be observed, Model for ventures of single female founders shows a significantly 6 comes in two variants: 6a and 6b. As in our previous tests, lower survival probability (also supported by the alternative Model 6 is quite “invariant” to time—rather, we treat all our model discussed above). When including the full sample observations as a single “cross-section.” To assess whether it (5b), thus also including ventures started by teams, this neg- can be established that female-founded ventures are gener- ative effect remains—ventures started by single female ally less prone to survive, we contrast the survival of male- founders showed a lower probability of survival. Overall, founded ventures (both solo ventures and team ventures) and from Models 4 and 5, we can only conclude that ventures mixed-gender ventures against ventures founded by females founded by single female entrepreneurs had a higher risk of (solo start-ups and team start-ups) in the cohorts from 2001, exit within 3 years from the start; any gender-specific homo- 2003, and 2005 in Model 6a (thus excluding the cohorts from geneity effect—for both male and female teams—is difficult 1930, 1942, and 1950). The results show a significantly to discern. lower survival rate for Swedish ventures started by females Table 4, finally, reports the results that test the fourth in the early 2000s (however only at the 10% level). As we hypothesis (H4), which stated that improvements in the insti- assume ex ante that the conditions for female entrepreneurs tutional and societal context for female entrepreneurs have improved over time in Hypothesis H4, it is not surpris- decrease the gender differences in the probability of new ing that this pattern remains in the full model, Model 6b. venture survival. It can be recalled that we hypothesized that Here, female-founded ventures generally exhibit lower Box and Larsson Segerlind 13 survival rates across time as compared with ventures founded general and rather “timeless” phenomenon. Even if we have by males (solo or in teams) and mixed-gender teams. In par- studied longer historical intervals, the analysis of the ven- ticular, the full-sample analysis in Model 6b (Cohorts 1930- tures’ survival times has admittedly been moderately short. 2005) gives statistical support for this conclusion: Both Our ambition is to develop databases on more contemporary male-founded ventures and mixed-gender team-founded conditions that can be used for analyses of longer survival ventures have a statistically higher probability of surviving. times. Thus, once more, we find support for the assumption that In explaining the higher survival rate for entrepreneurial female-founded ventures had a lower propensity to survive founding teams, we argue that the start-up process in a ven- (see Hypothesis H3). ture contains risks, uncertainties, and ambiguities However, Model 7 attempts to analyze differences (Sarasvathy, 2001); under these conditions, it can be assumed between different periods. This model introduces interaction that the social context of stakeholders, in terms of an entre- terms for institutional conditions for both male founding preneurial team, is a favorable contextual setting (cf. Larsson entrepreneurs (solo as well as teams) and mixed-team found- Segerlind, 2009). ing entrepreneurs in which we contrast the period 2001-2005 The second research question asked whether the probabil- (1) against the previous period, 1930-1950 (0). The odds ity of venture survival is affected by the gender composition ratios for both interaction terms are smaller than 1.0 and sig- of founding teams. Earlier studies are scarce and they have nificant. Our hypothesis receives support: in this model, the produced mixed results (Zhou & Rosini, 2015), but they relatively better performance by ventures founded by men indicate that gender-homogeneous teams have better sur- and mixed teams weakens over time, relative to ventures vival rates than heterogeneous teams (Ruef, 2010). However, founded by females (solo as well as teams). This suggests we did not find such an effect. It has been argued that diver- that ventures founded by women in the 2000s may have bet- sity, in terms of separation (homogeneity), is a positive factor ter survival chances in comparison with ventures founded by for explaining not only the formation but also the perfor- women under more disadvantageous institutional condi- mance of ventures. However, our results indicate that homo- tions. In conclusion, we find that some, but not all, of our geneity is not a strong explanatory factor for performance in hypotheses receive support in our analysis and in our terms of survival. Our findings are in line with recent results dataset. (Yang & del Carmen Triana, 2017), questioning earlier mod- els that claim an advantage from team homogeneity. Another explanation for our results can be that our samples of hetero- Discussion and Conclusion geneous teams most likely include both spouse- and non- In this study, we initially asked if there is a difference in the spouse teams. It is often argued that mediating factors such likelihood of survival for ventures founded by an entrepre- as trust and mutual commitment (e.g., in spouse teams) make neurial team, as compared with ventures founded as solo the entrepreneurial team capable of handling a high degree of start-ups. When controlling for initial conditions—cohort, risk, uncertainty, and sense making in early phases of the sector, and macroenvironmental conditions—our empirical venture. Previous results have shown that spouse teams have results showed that ventures with an entrepreneurial found- better survival rates than both nonspouse teams and homoge- ing team had a significantly increased survival probability. neous teams (Hellerstedt, 2009; Ruef, 2010). Presently, we Earlier convincing studies have found that entrepreneurial are unable to distinguish these categories of teams. teams perform better than single entrepreneurs, measuring When we went further, examining the effect of different performance in terms of venture growth. When it comes to gender compositions, the results were mixed. The assump- performance in terms of survival, earlier research has pro- tion of a lower survival probability for all-female teams only duced more mixed results. In that sense, and even if the team received weak support. Furthermore, we found no support effect was modest, the present study could be viewed as an for a difference in survival for mixed-gender teams, as com- essential empirical contribution to research on entrepreneur- pared with all-male teams. These results indicate a gender ial teams and venture performance. Earlier studies (Gueguen, effect on venture survival; however, the variable for single 2013) have shown that even if the survival rate of the entre- female founders exhibited a significantly lower survival rate. preneurial team is significantly higher over 3 years, the A bold conjunction of this observed lower survival rate for higher survival rate is not this significant over longer time single female founders is that unfavorable institutional con- periods—even if this may be the case, we have been unable ditions affect the chances of survival of this type of ventures. to study longer effects in the present article. Regardless of In line with earlier studies (Lechler, 2001; Yang & del this, other large-sample analyses have questioned the advan- Carmen Triana, 2017), we interpret these partial and mixed tages of start-up teams in relation to solo-founded ventures results as an overall gender effect (more than a demographic (Yang & del Carmen Triana, 2017); thus, past results are not initial condition as in much past research). These results may entirely conclusive. Our results do, however, support the suggest that research needs to comprehensively include notion that founding teams increase ventures’ survival pros- social power as a theoretical perspective. The role of and the pects, and—as we use historical data—it appears to be a distribution and possession of power, status, prestige, and the 14 SAGE Open attitudes to gender stereotypes—both in the internal social underperform relative to male-founded ventures, and we setting of the ventures and in relation to the external soci- have discovered a similar pattern for Sweden—historically, ety—need to be further elaborated on. Furthermore, the but also presently. We also find that gender effects on new empirical results related to the third hypothesis in the present venture performance may interact with changes in the insti- article, that ventures founded by males will have a higher tutional environment. In that sense, time is an important and likelihood to survive, support these statements. essential contextual factor in explaining entrepreneurial phe- As gender is an integral phenomenon in our study, we nomena, also when it comes to entrepreneurial teams. As for asked in our third and last research question if venture sur- the theoretical conclusions and contributions of the article, vival in general is conditional on founders’ gender, and we argue that Harrison and Klein’s (2007) conceptual and whether this relationship has changed over time. In line with theoretical clarification of the three constructs of diversity— past results, we found that female-founded ventures had a variety, separation, and disparity—has potential for future higher likelihood to exit relative to other constellations (cf. research about contextual aspects of entrepreneurial teams. Yang & del Carmen Triana, 2017). We further assumed that We were not able to fulfill the request from Harrison and gender differences in the likelihood of new venture survival Klein (2007) to develop more reliable and valid measure- will decrease if the institutional context for female entrepre- ments of diversity. In particular, we argue that gender diver- neurship becomes more favorable over time. We found dis- sity in entrepreneurial teams in relation to performance can tinct, significant support for this hypothesis. Our benefit from including a social power perspective in analyz- interpretation of the results is that the mix of unfavorable ing the results, as it is coherent with a contextual and institu- formal and informal institutions of that time and age could tional perspective. In particular, we would like to emphasize partially explain the lower survival rate for female founding the perspective of institutional transformation. The latter entrepreneurs in the first half of the 20th century. At the statement is not new in the debate (Welter, 2011), but there beginning of the 21st century, most of the unequal formal have been few empirical studies that have actually included institutions have disappeared, and there has also been a prog- temporal and societal contextual perspectives. With our arti- ress of more favorable informal rules and norms. Therefore, cle, we have attempted to contribute to this discussion. we believe that the use of a temporal contextual lens (Welter, 2011) has helped capture some aspects of changes in the Implications and Future Directions societal and institutional context for women entrepreneur- ship and economic activity in Sweden from the early 20th A rising awareness of time and context (Welter, 2011)— century to the early 21st century (e.g., Bersbo, 2012; Wottle and of time as context (Aldrich, 2009)—increases the abil- & Blomberg, 2011), and how it would affect venture perfor- ity to separate the unique from the general, as well as the mance. Institutional transformation is a long process, partic- ability to control for factors that are influential on the out- ularly changes in informal institutions. We do not mean that come of interest. In line with recent claims (e.g., Aldrich, gender institutional transformation is necessarily a linear or 2009; Lippman & Aldrich, 2016), we maintain that the ini- straightforward process (cf. Bladh, 1997), but we argue that tial diversity of start-ups must be considered—otherwise, the underlying trend in Sweden has been that both formal any observed or assumed team effect will be difficult to and informal institutions have transformed to more favorable discern. Our findings indicate that this may be the case. It conditions between the early years of the 20th century and also means that it should be possible to measure the com- the 21st century. However, our results indicate that there is position of founding teams—in our case, the gender com- still an institutionalized gendered logic, based on unequal position. Longer observations increase the opportunity for gender stereotypes, that is “lurking beneath the surface” dynamic analyses of organizational performance over time (Yang & Aldrich, 2014, p. 20). These power mechanisms (Martinez et al., 2011). Thus, our study contributes to may affect the social context and set boundaries for women research on entrepreneurial teams, gender, and institutional entrepreneurs; our analysis of female-founded ventures in transformation. Factors that are often identified as impor- the 2000s distinctly showed that they had a significantly tant for organizational performance—founding teams and lower probability of surviving as compared with other gender—should not be analyzed in isolation but simultane- constellations. ously. Data that are both historical and contemporary have If we conclude the empirical results and our empirical a built-in historical/institutional dimension. Such data can contribution, we find that initial contextual social conditions, test and evaluate previous assumptions in research that in terms of a venture founded by an entrepreneurial founding relate to gender and gender theory, as well as research on team, have an effect on new venture survival (over 3 years). contextual implications on entrepreneurial teams. As noted, these results are partly at odds with recent research Naturally, the data and measurements employed in this (Yang & del Carmen Triana, 2017). However, Yang and study can be both refined and extended when elaborating Triana also question earlier models on the advantage of team on issues on venture survival time and performance. We homogeneity, which we have also found in our study. propose that Harrison and Klein’s (2007) framework about Furthermore, their results show that female ventures different constructs of diversity is fruitful for building Box and Larsson Segerlind 15 proper measurements of diversity in entrepreneurial teams. ventures founded in the 2000s have a survival rate of more than 75%. The difference is statistically significant (chi-square Furthermore, from our general results, it is possible to = 8.894; significance = .003). All other things being equal, this make more in-depth studies of particular cases or groups of indicates that the overall institutional conditions for women firms and groups of teams. Both these avenues for research entrepreneurs have improved. This also seems to be the case will be carried out in future studies. for all-female founding teams (excluding ventures founded by a single woman); although significant “only” at the 10% level, Declaration of Conflicting Interests all-female founding teams in the 2000s cohorts reveal a sig- The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect nificantly higher probability of surviving (survival rate = 82%) to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. with their ventures compared with all-female founding teams in the first half of the 1900s, which exhibit a survival rate of 61.5% (chi-square = 3.664; significance = .056). Funding The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The References authors appear in alphabetical order and have contributed equally to Achtenhagen, L., & Tillmar, M. (2013). Studies on women’s entre- the article. Marcus Box has received financial support from preneurship from Nordic countries and beyond. International Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and the Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, 5, 4-16. Demography of Firms and Industries in Sweden over Two Centuries; af Sandeberg, A. C. (2005). En ny aktiebolagslag [The new joint- P12-1122:1). stock companies act]. Ny Juridik, 1(5), 7-33. Ahl, H. (2006). Why research on women entrepreneurs needs new ORCID iD directions. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 30, 595-621. Aldrich, H. E. (2009). Lost in space, out of time: Why and how Tommy Larsson Segerlind https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3316-9825 we should study organizations comparatively. Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 26, 21-44. Notes Aldrich, H. E., & Kim, P. H. (2007). Small worlds, infinite possi- 1. Organizations that experience founder successions do often bilities? 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SAGE Open – SAGE
Published: May 15, 2018
Keywords: entrepreneurial team; new venture survival; institutions; institutional transformation; longitudinal study; team composition; context; gender diversity; venture team; founding team
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