Abstract

Board composition has been shown to influence a number of organizational outcomes (e.g. Dalton, Daily, Ellstrand & Johnson, 1998; Beatty & Zajack, 1994; Hoskisson, Johnson & Moesel, 1994). Most scholars have focused almost explicitly on the degree to which the board is dominated by either “insiders” or “outsiders.” Some research, grounded in agency theory, suggests that the most effective boards are those governed by a greater number of outside directors (e.g. Lorsch & MacIver, 1989; Zahra & Pearce, 1989). A smaller group of scholars have appealed to stewardship theory to argue that a greater number of inside directors can drive better firm performance (e.g. Kesner, 1987; Vance, 1968). The vast majority, if not all, of these studies have examined boards of directors for large public firms. But where do these boards come from? And how, in the case of equity financed startups, does the initial composition of investors who act as board members influence the subsequent composition of the board and performance of the firm? This research aims to answer these questions by looking at investor syndicates for young technology startups that evolve over time.

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