In the Blood: Organizational History and the Heritability of New Venture Performance
Ethan R. Mollick
University of Pennsylvania - Wharton School
June 25, 2010
A growing literature on the genealogy of new firms has demonstrated a powerful link between the career history of founding teams and the future performance of the organizations they create. Yet there is no consensus on what historically contingent material individuals actually carry from one organization to another, as well as a lack of theory about how such material is transferred from one organization to another. By examining the pathways by which genealogy is transmitted through the action of individuals to new firms, and combining that with an empirical analysis of over 250 new firms in the computer game industry, this paper seeks to shed additional light on the linkage between genealogy and new venture performance. I conclude that the entrepreneurial prominence of a founder’s prior affiliation, as opposed to the founder’s prior routines and industry knowledge, transfers from individuals to new ventures, and has a persistent effect on new venture performance.
Date posted: June 27, 2010
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