Abstract

While flexibility is usually considered to be a competitive advantage in strategic management and organizational theory (Schreyögg and Sydow, 2010), debate exists in the field of entrepreneurship about the benefits of new venture flexibility. Some scholars argue that the excessive flexibility and lack of structure in new ventures may be harmful for survival (Stinchcombe, 1965; Davis et al., 2009). Other scholars have suggested that new ventures, which are operating in uncertainty and constantly making sense of and adjusting to their environments, can benefit from flexibility (Hmieleski and Corbett, 2008; Zahra et al., 2000). While flexibility takes a central place in the entrepreneurship field, few empirical studies have examined the effect of new venture structural flexibility on performance. To examine this issue we draw on research on teams and small group structures. We focus on two structural dimensions of entrepreneurial teams with relatively stable membership: (1) fluidity of power distribution in new venture teams and (2) fluidity of role distribution in new venture teams. We assessed these dimensions’ relationship with new venture team innovativeness as well as new venture team performance.

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