Essays on the Effect of Founders on Performance and Exit of New Ventures

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For the last four decades, the entrepreneurship literature has been interested in the effect of entrepreneurs’ characteristics on different aspects of the entrepreneurial process. Yet, there are gaps in our understanding of these effects. A significant limitation of this literature is that little attention has been paid to exit. In Chapter 2 and Chapter 3, this dissertation addresses this gap by studying the relationship between entrepreneurs’ characteristics and new venture exit, in particular mergers and acquisitions. These chapters discuss that entrepreneurs can affect acquisition likelihood through their actual performance, signalling, and exit intention. The analysis in Chapter 2 indicates that team-founded new ventures are more likely to be acquired, and that there is a positive and diminishing relationship between team size and acquisition likelihood. Chapter 3 focuses on the effect of team composition in terms of demographic and human capital characteristics on the acquisition likelihood of new ventures. Chapter 3 shows that gender diversity and the average education level of team members are positively related to acquisition likelihood. In addition, this chapter indicates a negative effect of industry-experience-level diversity on acquisition likelihood. Chapters 2 and 3 contribute to the entrepreneurship literature by recognizing several drivers of new venture exit (i.e. acquisition vs. closure) and emphasizing the need to include exits such as acquisition as a success measure of performance. Chapter 4 aims to address the inconsistencies reported in the literature of the magnitude and direction of the relationship between gender and entrepreneurial performance. Using meta-analysis structural equation modelling, Chapter 4 provides some insights into why female entrepreneurs may under-perform in terms of growth and financial performance; females’ comparative lack of experience and less hours allocated to the businesses are two factors. The higher satisfaction shown by females suggests that overall performance may not be lower if non-financial dimensions are included. These results show that there are direct relationships between gender and different measures of performance which were not explained by the mediator variables in the model. Future research is needed to include other possible explanations to provide a clearer understanding of the relative performance of female and male entrepreneurs.
New ventures, Entrepreneurs, Team composition, Exit, Mergers and acquisitions, Gender
Soleimani, L. (2019). Essays on the Effect of Founders on Performance and Exit of New Ventures (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from