Abstract

https://ssrn.com/abstract=2571777
 


 



Entrepreneurial Adaptation and Social Networks: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment on a MOOC Platform


Charles E. Eesley


Stanford University - Management Science & Engineering

Lynn Wu


University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School

February 28, 2016


Abstract:     
To assess the impact of suggesting different approaches to the strategic process to early-stage entrepreneurs, we examine their before-and-after performance in a randomized field experiment. Contrary to the finding that entrepreneurs should be adaptive and open to changing their business model and strategic direction frequently, we find that instructing entrepreneurs to have a strong, persistent vision for their startup often results in better performance in the early stages. However, we find that having more diverse social ties can mitigate the disadvantage of the adaptive approach at the beginning of the venture. Further, we find that while the planning approach works in the very early stage, a two-year follow-up survey indicates the adaptive approach yields better outcomes in terms of revenues and fundraising. However, the adaptive approach with a diverse mentor tie continues to yield better outcomes in the follow-up survey, suggesting that the advantage of coupling adaptive approach with diverse social ties continues to persist. The results show that the formulation of a strategic approach benefits from consideration of the interaction with social network ties.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 37

Keywords: Social Networks, Entrepreneurship, MOOCs, Randomized Experiments


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Date posted: March 2, 2015 ; Last revised: March 17, 2016

Suggested Citation

Eesley, Charles E. and Wu, Lynn, Entrepreneurial Adaptation and Social Networks: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment on a MOOC Platform (February 28, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2571777 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2571777

Contact Information

Charles E. Eesley
Stanford University - Management Science & Engineering ( email )
473 Via Ortega
Stanford, CA 94305-9025
United States
(740) 236-4653 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.stanford.edu/~cee
Lynn Wu (Contact Author)
University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )
3733 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6374
United States

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