They Just Fade Away: Mortality in the U.S. Venture Capital Industry
Industrial and Corporate Change, 21(1): 151-185.
50 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2011 Last revised: 29 Oct 2012
Date Written: October 13, 2011
Organizational mortality events are better understood than the process by which organizations cease to be. Complementing research on organizing, we theorize about disorganizing. We propose that disorganizing organizations attempt to avoid mortality by reducing audience engagement. We also propose that, typically, such behaviors only delay the inevitable because reduced engagement diminishes audience appeal which, in turn, raises mortality hazards. Analyzing life histories of 1,891 organizations that experience protracted mortality processes, we find support for our arguments. Reducing engagement increases the mortality hazard for venture capital firms by reducing the firm's appeal to co-investors, but gradual reductions attenuate the effects of reduced engagement on both mortality and appeal. We discuss implications of these findings for organizational theory, entrepreneurs, and institutional investors.
Keywords: organizational theory, mortality, venture capital, entrepreneurship
JEL Classification: L20, L21, G24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation