Workplace Peers and Entrepreneurship

31 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2008 Last revised: 13 Mar 2010

See all articles by Ramana Nanda

Ramana Nanda

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit

Jesper Sorensen

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Date Written: March 10, 2009


We examine whether the likelihood of entrepreneurial activity is related to the prior career experiences of an individual’s co-workers, using a unique matched employer-employee panel dataset. We argue that coworkers can increase the likelihood that an individual will perceive entrepreneurial opportunities as well as increase his or her motivation to pursue those opportunities. We find that an individual is more likely to become an entrepreneur if his or her co-workers have been entrepreneurs before. Peer influences also appear to be substitutes for other sources of entrepreneurial influence: we find that peer influences are strongest for those who have less exposure to entrepreneurship in other aspects of their lives.

Suggested Citation

Nanda, Ramana and Sorensen, Jesper B., Workplace Peers and Entrepreneurship (March 10, 2009). Harvard Business School Entrepreneurial Management Working Paper No. 08-051. Available at SSRN: or

Ramana Nanda (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States


Jesper B. Sorensen

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

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