Abstract

The present research is an attempt to make progress in the understanding of the process of board formation and its impact on the functions performed by the board in young entrepreneurial ventures. The link between board members’ characteristics in terms of particular interests/incentives, demographics, knowledge and skills and the effective accomplishment of such functions as monitoring and resource provision is not immediate, but most likely depends on the way the board is initially configured and develops routines through directors’ interaction. Little attention has been given to the process of early board formation in young ventures, although some contributions suggest that a board’s composition and working style are influenced by the lifecycle-stage of its formation and the action of powerful stakeholders (Lynall et al., 2003). Expanding earlier research concerning the impact of directors’ multiple identities on their board roles (Hillman et al., 2008), we argue that the identity of external financiers matters in configuring the board of directors and designing its working mode and roles. This is because different investors (1) may be endowed with different skills and knowledge, and (2) their social identities influence the intrinsic motivation to accomplish different board roles.

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