Help Me Do it on My Own: How Entrepreneurs Manage Autonomy and Constraint within Incubator Organizations

Research in the Sociology of Organizations, volume 47, (2016) Forthcoming

42 Pages Posted: 27 May 2016

See all articles by Victor P. Seidel

Victor P. Seidel

Babson College; Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; University of Oxford

Kelley A. Packalen

Queen's University - Smith School of Business

Siobhan Clare O'Mahony

Boston University School of Management

Date Written: 2016

Abstract

Scholars have studied how entrepreneurs acquire resources but have not examined how resources may be bundled with constraints, which can threaten entrepreneurial autonomy. Organizational sponsors, such as incubators and accelerators, provide entrepreneurs with resources, but how do entrepreneurs sustain autonomy while seeking resources and support? We studied five entrepreneurial firms in a business incubator over a six-month period. While benefiting from incubator resources, entrepreneurs also experienced unexpected constraints, including mentor role conflict, gatekeeper control, and affiliation dissonance. By showing how entrepreneurs unbundled the incubator’s resources from constraints, we explain how entrepreneurs manage the tension between acquiring resources and preserving autonomy.

Keywords: Entrepreneurial autonomy, entrepreneurship, sponsoring organizations, business incubators, resource acquisition

JEL Classification: M13, O31

Suggested Citation

Seidel, Victor P. and Packalen, Kelley A. and O'Mahony, Siobhan Clare, Help Me Do it on My Own: How Entrepreneurs Manage Autonomy and Constraint within Incubator Organizations (2016). Research in the Sociology of Organizations, volume 47, (2016) Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2784469

Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.seas.harvard.edu/directory/vseidel

University of Oxford ( email )

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain

HOME PAGE: http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/community/people/victor-seidel

Kelley A. Packalen

Queen's University - Smith School of Business

Smith School of Business - Queen's University
143 Union Street
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6
Canada

Siobhan Clare O'Mahony

Boston University School of Management ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA MA 02215
United States

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