Abstract

Entrepreneurs and their ventures are said to be an important vehicle for economic growth and a significant body of research has been accumulated on explaining the entrepreneurial process. Thereby, most research effort has focused on the founding process (DeTienne, 2010). Yet, the entrepreneurial process goes beyond the nascent phase of a venture and may continue until the business is harvested (Cardon et al., 2005). While entrepreneurship scholars have recently taken up the topic of business exit (Decker & Melewight, 2007), our understanding of the process until founders leave their firms is very limited. We know that professional CEOs replace the founders as primary decision makers, yet empirical evidence shows that three out of four founders stay on in a different role (Rubenson & Gupta, 1992; Wasserman, 2003). Nevertheless, our insights into the succession process are still limited and we know little about the founder’s whereabouts after being dismissed as the CEO. Therefore, in my study, I ask: How do founders upon dismissal as the company’s CEO story their transition in order to claim a new role and what are the resulting challenges for the succession process?

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