Abstract

This study extends current research on entrepreneurial teams by focusing on the founding partner-ship early in the venture formation process to better understand the persistence of the founding partnership and to test how its characteristics relate to new venture creation. Entrepreneurship research has shown that larger founding teams impart a performance advantage to their organizations (Chandler, Honig, & Wiklund 2005), but little attention has been given to how the specific number of founders relates to founding team endurance and subsequent firm emergence. Sociological theory has long held that there are significant differences in the ways in which people relate to each other in a dyad than in a triad or any other form of organization (Simmel 1950), and others have said that the most stable and effective complex systems are composed of loosely coupled (Weick 1979), nearly-decomposable subassemblies (Simon 1962). Within the early new venture team the founders are central to firm operation and survival, and the persistence of their relationship and the quality of their personal interactions often contribute to entrepreneurial success (Lechler 2001). This study uses ownership changes in the very early stages of the startup process to investigate the ways in which size of the partnerships change over time and relates the characteristics of the founding partnership to subsequent venture emergence.

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