Abstract

While scholars representing the resource-based view argue that firm-specific characteristics determine firm performance, industrial organization economics scholars emphasize the importance of industry structure. The ongoing discussion on the relative importance of firm vs. industry-specific characteristics has become a fundamental debate in management literature. For entrepreneurs industry choice is one of the most influential strategic decisions. Compared to incumbent firms, new ventures have a number of disadvantages known as liabilities of newness (Stinchcombe, 1965) that make them vulnerable to environmental threats. Hence, environmental conditions at founding have been argued to be critical factors for venture success (Eisenhardt, & Schoonhoven, 1990). However, empirical research on the importance of certain environmental characteristics for venture performance shows controversial findings. In this meta-analysis we are aiming at integrating previous empirical results in order to answer two research questions: (1) How do munificence, hostility, and dynamism affect venture performance? (2) How important are these effects compared to the influences of firm-specific factors?

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