Abstract

Nascent entrepreneurs can engage in a wide variety of gestation activities and these activities can occur in many different combinations. Research on the gestation process has failed to find temporal sequences of gestation activities, thus concluding that the gestation process is chaotic and random (Liao, Welsch and Tan, 2005; Reynolds and Miller, 1992). Hence, our understanding of the gestation process is mostly of a descriptive and a variance-based nature, rather than of a process-based nature that takes into account the temporal ordering of events. In this paper we challenge the hypothesis that there is no temporal structure in the gestation process. We posit that this structure was not observed in prior studies due to the lack of an appropriate methodology. We apply in this paper a novel approach to the study of temporally-ordered data, called TQCA (i.e., Temporal Qualitative Comparative Analysis; Caren and Panofsky, 2005; Ragin and Strand, 2008). It aims at a causal explanation of a certain state or outcome (e.g., successful start-up or firm termination) by specifying configurations of conditions (e.g., the occurrence of a specific combination of start-up activities) that bring it about.

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