Through the Looking Glass: Company Culture As a Reflection of Founder Personality in Entrepreneurial Organizations
22 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2016 Last revised: 10 Jan 2017
Date Written: September 10, 2016
This paper explores the connection between founder personality and organizational culture in founder-led entrepreneurial companies. It draws from the literature in upper echelon/top management teams, family business and organizational psychology – notably the Attraction-Selection-Attrition (ASA: Schneider, 1987) and Person-Organization fit (P-O: O'Reilly, Chatman, & Caldwell, 1991) theories. Using ethnographic, psychological and organizational data from the founders and employees of four small firms from multiple industries, we find that, contrary to ASA and P-O predictions, aggregate personality seems to mediate the effect of founder personality on culture. At the same time, the direct impact of founder personality seems to be enhanced by intentional efforts to build culture and by sheer force of personality. The paper concludes with plans for further research into the personality-organizational culture effects and thoughts about the applicability of these results for founders.
Keywords: Founder, Personality, Organizational Culture, Big-Five, Person-Organization Fit, ASA
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