Up close and personal: How relational dynamics in founding teams are shaped by the context of entrepreneurship
Doctoral thesis, 2021
This thesis consists of five papers and uses a mixed methods approach to examine how relational dynamics in founding teams are shaped by the context of entrepreneurship. The setting for the research is a university incubator in northern Europe where founding teams are accessed prior to incorporation, and often prior to team formation. The thesis puts forth a theoretical model that posits four main interconnected findings: (1) team member relationships act as a stand-in for organizational structures, (2) the context demands close relationships, (3) close relationship models such as the family fit to study and understand relational dynamics, and (4) the interaction context calls for interpersonal courage, intimacy, and a willingness to be vulnerable. Together the papers show that the emotionality of entrepreneurship stems not only from the characteristics of the context, but from the relationality of this unique kind of teamwork.
The thesis contributes to the entrepreneurship literature by challenging and shifting the way we see and study teams in this context, suggesting fresh perspectives and possible ways forward. In doing so, the thesis adds richness and depth to our understanding of this emotional and inherently social phenomenon, while shedding light on why some teams may fail while others stay the course.
new venture team
Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Strategy
Organizational perspective on entrepreneurship
The Palgrave handbook of multidisciplinary perspectives on entrepreneurship,; (2018)p. 125-146
Team Trust and Control in New Venture Emergence
International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research,; Vol. 24(2018)p. 882-910
Nowell, P., & Brattström, A. (2020). Trusting a team when you do not trust its members: a process model of trust emergence in new venture teams
Nowell, P. (2021). The promise of family theory in understanding emotional and relational dynamics in new venture teams
Karlsson, T., & Nowell, P. (2020). Entrepreneurship education: Team composition in known worlds and new frontiers. Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy, Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.11 77/2515127420905890
Some of the most common questions asked by entrepreneurs are ‘how do I find a co-founder’ and ‘how do I build a successful team’? Relationships take center stage in new ventures because founders want a hand to hold as they navigate the uncertain, emotional context of entrepreneurship. Relationships keep a start-up alive, and help it thrive as it develops over time. However, while entrepreneurs may expect the uncertainty, stress, and emotionality that comes with entrepreneurial life, many underestimate its relationality - the extent to which relationships matter in this context, and the relational work founders need to engage in. As scholars, we provide little help in this domain as we currently study these teams as typical work teams when their relational and emotional dynamics are anything but. In fact, the interpersonal processes of founding teams remain a largely unopened black box. This thesis advances our understanding of these teams by opening this black box. This book introduces a theoretical model and whole new perspective, family theory and close relationship science, that work to shift how we conceptualize, study, and support these teams. In doing so, this thesis sheds light on the emotional and relational dynamics of founding teamwork, and how team members can build the kind of relationships and relational skill sets they need to survive and thrive in their entrepreneurial endeavors.
Other Social Sciences
Innovation and entrepreneurship
Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 4955
Chalmers University of Technology
Slottsskogen V2 - 2324
Opponent: Professor Siri Terjesen, Florida Atlantic University, USA