Organizational Blueprints for Success in High-Tech Start-Ups: Lessons from the Stanford Project on Emerging Companies

Michael Hannan

Stanford Graduate School of Business

James Baron



University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship

This longitudinal study examines nearly 200 high-technology start-ups in California's Silicon Valley, from 1994-2001. Evaluating interviews with founders and CEOs, the authors found that work and employment blueprints depended on variables such as: attachment, coordination/control, and selection. Using these three dimensions, a typology of employment blueprints consisting of the following five models: star, engineering, commitment, bureaucracy, and autocracy or direct control, is determined. Findings indicate that organizational blueprints vary among venture-based companies, and that changes occur from one pure model type to another, which, in turn, cause changes in senior management start-ups. The results of the research suggest that founders' employment models cause long-lasting effects on the company's endurance and performance; also, changes in organizational blueprints are destabilizing to young technology start-ups. The authors conclude by suggesting lessons for entrepreneurs and managers. (CBS)

Keywords: Stanford Project on Emerging Companies, Stanford University, Employment models, Executives, Founders, Corporate ventures, High technology firms, Organizational structures, Silicon Valley, Startups

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Date posted: November 24, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Hannan, Michael and Baron, James, Organizational Blueprints for Success in High-Tech Start-Ups: Lessons from the Stanford Project on Emerging Companies (2002). California Management Review, Vol. 44, Issue 3, p. 8-36 2002. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1511023

Contact Information

Michael Hannan (Contact Author)
Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )
655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States
650-723-1511 (Phone)
650-725-7692 (Fax)

James N. Baron
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