Founder or Joiner? The Interplay between Preferences and Context in Shaping Different Entrepreneurial Interests
Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business
August 23, 2013
Entrepreneurial ventures rely not only on founders, but also on “joiners” – startup employees who are attracted to entrepreneurship but do not want to be founders themselves. Building upon micro and macro perspectives of entrepreneurship, we examine how preferences for entrepreneurial job attributes and contextual factors that encourage entrepreneurship shape individuals’ interests in being a founder or a joiner prior to their first career transition. We find that individuals with founder and joiner interests share similar preferences for entrepreneurial job attributes such as autonomy and risk, but differ significantly in the strength and nature of these preferences. Contextual factors such as norms, role models, and opportunities exhibit very different relationships with founder and joiner interests. Most interestingly, we find that the influence of contextual factors in shaping different entrepreneurial interests is conditioned by individuals’ preferences. Founder interests are largely associated with preferences for entrepreneurial job attributes irrespective of context. At the other extreme, absent these preferences social factors have little influence on founder interests, while opportunities do. Joiner interests, on the other hand, appear more susceptible to contextual factors, and this relationship is most pronounced for individuals with preferences that predispose them to entrepreneurship. This study highlights joiners as a distinct type of “entrepreneurial” actor that differs from founders in fundamental ways, while also demonstrating the importance of considering both micro and macro factors jointly.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 48
Keywords: entrepreneurship, human capital, scientists, joiners, commercialization
JEL Classification: M13, O32, J24, M51working papers series
Date posted: November 4, 2012 ; Last revised: September 11, 2013
© 2013 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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