Abstract

Drawing on both the upper echelon perspective and the imprinting arguments, this paper builds a theoretical model exploring the way change and stability in new ventures are affected both by influence of the core team and influence of structural inertia, and test it with data collected from a group of young technology firms in Singapore. I propose that the initial design of the employment model reflects the imprint of both team shared experience (as indicated by prior shared organizational experience), and team diversity (as indicated by prior functional roles). Once the blueprint is put into practice, those who help build it attach their sentiment and belief to it, transforming a rational deliberation into a beloved institution. Moreover, once a certain initial design is set on its course, the forces of structural inertia also set in, making the employment model at the startup phase a predictor of the employment model at the growth phase. Change in team membership, however, can moderate such imprinting effects. The model also tests the effects of adaptive pressures, in the form of environment changes and isomorphic pressures.

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