Abstract

Giving up control of something one has created is not easy. Indeed, many founders are reluctant to leave their positions as the company’s CEO (Clifford, Nilakant, & Hamilton, 1991; Lansberg, 1999; Wasserman, 2012). However, there is more to the story than just the founder; the entrepreneurial top management team (eTMT) is not only directly concerned by the change of leadership but it also plays an important role for organizational outcomes (Ensley, Pearson, & Amason, 2002; Hambrick & Mason, 1984). Yet, little is known about how an eTMT interprets such a critical event. Therefore, we look at how entrepreneurial TMTs make sense of founder succession and how this relates to its moving on in the aftermath of the departure of one of its most important members.

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