Abstract

Recent research has begun to examine the impact of founders’ identities on entrepreneurial outcomes (e.g., Gruber & Fauchart, 2011; Hoang & Gimeno, 2010). In this paper, we draw on studies of founder educational backgrounds (Gruber et al., 2010; Ding, 2011) to suggest that these educational backgrounds inculcate founders with certain values and institutionalized belief structures which founders then rely upon when constructing and communicating the identity of their firm. One of the key contributions of our research is that we take a more nuanced perspective of team level heterogeneity compared to existing studies that merely examine the highest level of education in a particular field. We recognize that heterogeneity of founding team composition can be a function of both intra-organization differences (the case of a two-founder firm where one founder has an educational background strictly in the sciences and the other one has a background strictly in business) and intra-personal differences (the case of a two-founder firm where both founders have educational backgrounds in both the sciences and business). This approach allows us to better tease out the source of identity tensions at the founding team level.

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