Historical Social Research

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Katharina Scheidgen: Social Contexts in Team Formation: Why Do Independent Start-Ups and University Spin-Offs Form Teams Differently? [Abstract]

Although the entrepreneurial team has gained increasing attention as a unit of analysis, we still do not understand much about how these teams form. Previous research has focused either on existing social relationships and their role in the search for potential team members or on criteria for selecting team members. Consequently, we do not yet understand the interplay of search and selection. Another long-neglected aspect that is being increasingly recognized in entrepreneurship research is that the entrepreneurial process is influenced by its social context beyond existing social relationships. This social context is another important factor that has to be considered to properly understand team formation. To analyze how specific characteristics of one particularly relevant social context–namely, the entrepreneurial field–impact the search for and selection of team members, I conducted a qualitative, multiple-case study that compares innovative new ventures in Berlin. The study shows that different types of ventures in different phases exhibit different team formation patterns based on their different and changing social contexts. From these patterns, I have derived different team-formation mechanisms and propositions about the conditions under which they apply.

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