Hiring in Young Firms: Pre-Founding Affiliations and the Origins of Organizational Diversity
34 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2022
Date Written: November 11, 2021
New ventures typically have few resources and rarely have formal human resource processes, calling to question how these entrepreneurial firms find early employees. Early hiring practices are important because they set the trajectory of workforce composition in a growing organization. A common, informal tactic in young firms for finding employees is the use of early members’ prior affiliations (employment and educational) – an expedient practice, though one that may limit a new venture’s workforce diversity. Our study examines when young firms engage in such affiliation-based hiring and its implications for demographic diversity. Using a representative sample of new ventures drawn from Danish matched employer-employee data, we find that larger founding teams with greater internal social tie depth are more likely to hire from founders’ prior affiliations. Our results further suggest that affiliation-based hiring reinforces demographic homophily in the workforce, contrasting with diversity imperatives as firms grow. Our work provides insights to hiring processes in young firms and the enigmatic origins of diversity differences between firms.
Keywords: Affiliation-based hiring, young firms, founder ties, diversity
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