A Configurational Perspective on New Venture Team Heterogeneity

Wüthrich, Adrian (2018). A Configurational Perspective on New Venture Team Heterogeneity. Schriften zur Existenz- und Unternehmensgründung: Vol. 7. Hamburg: Verlag Dr. Kovac

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New venture firms are central to economic growth, among others because they create jobs and promote innovative products and services. Most new venture firms are founded and managed by new venture teams (NVTs). In addition to numerous external factors (e.g., customers, competition), the heterogeneity of these teams plays an important role in their development. This is because the distribution of a particular attribute within the NVT significantly influences the interaction of individual team members. A positive interaction can lead to a higher performance of both the NVT and its venture firm. However, previous study results on the effects emanating from heterogeneity in NVTs are not clear. Some researchers have provided evidence that a higher degree of heterogeneity is associated with positive consequences, whereas other scholars found the opposite. Previous studies have in common that they are primarily based on linear and correlational models. However, as NVTs reflect complex systems, whose composition is characterized by multiple, nonlinear causal relationships, an alternative approach is required. Against this background, the present dissertation proposes a configurational perspective and a corresponding data analytical method. The aim is not to determine what isolated impact individual heterogeneity characteristics (such as age, gender, work experience) exert on the performance of NVTs. Rather, it is of interest whether and to what extent combinations (i.e., configurations) of such characteristics (e.g., same age, same gender, different work experience) as a whole are relevant for performance. For this purpose, the dissertation contains three articles, each of which addresses a specific research question. First, a conceptual article reveals why, from a theoretical point of view, a configurational perspective substantially adds to the knowledge base regarding the impact of NVT heterogeneity. To this end, a series of recommendations is formulated that researchers should consider when examining heterogeneity in NVTs from a configurational perspective. Likewise, set theory and a corresponding analytical method are proposed to empirically investigate the assumptions inherent to this perspective. Next, based on a secondary dataset, an empirical article examines configurations of demographic heterogeneity characteristics of US-based NVTs that were about to start a business at the time of the survey. To this end, the method proposed in the first article is applied to examine combinations of informational (level of education, work experience, industry experience) and social-categorical (age, gender) heterogeneity characteristics of NVT members. Finally, the third article of the dissertation describes the analytical results of NVT heterogeneity configurations of various personality dimensions, perceived task environmental dynamism, and internal team conflict. For this purpose, primary data from Swiss NVTs are examined to determine which combinations of the above-mentioned constructs and dimensions are associated with higher and lower performance, respectively. Taken together, the dissertation illustrates the usefulness of the configurational perspective as well as set theoretic data analytical methods to investigate antecedents and consequences of heterogeneity in NVTs.

Item Type:

Book (Monograph)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Business Management > Institute of Innovation Management > Management

UniBE Contributor:

Wüthrich, Adrian


600 Technology > 650 Management & public relations
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics






Schriften zur Existenz- und Unternehmensgründung


Verlag Dr. Kovac




Simone Schweiger Fischer

Date Deposited:

22 Jan 2019 11:49

Last Modified:

22 Jan 2019 11:49



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