The research project aims to open up a novel perspective on business activity by systematically investigating the unfolding
dynamics in entrepreneurial groups. During the collective action of founding a business, entrepreneurial individuals invest time,
effort, support and_or money into their joint endeavor. In this process, the entrepreneurial group is constituted by assigning roles
to each member and crafting social identity. The research project analyses how group composition and relationships play out over
time and affect the continuous engagement of the group in entrepreneurial activity. A particular emphasis is set on ways such
groups reinforce and eventually redefine their roles, on the group’s capability to be innovative, and finally, how entrepreneurial
groups may decide to collectively exit from the business. The perspective of entrepreneurial group dynamics contributes to our
understanding of the social embeddedness of entrepreneurship.

The overarching aim of this research project is to draft a theory of entrepreneurial group dynamics. This theory highlights internal
coordination processes among group members that affect the functioning and malfunctioning of the group as it becomes particularly
evident in key transitional phases such as large-scale innovation projects and entrepreneurial exit. A theory of entrepreneurial group
dynamics will have to consider the tension between informal role assignment and formal governance structure, power and information
asymmetries within the entrepreneurial group, and pressures for group conformity and conflict. Theory building rests upon an iterative
process between conducting and analyzing data. It is further informed by an extensive and critical literature review that: differentiates
entrepreneurial groups from other analytical units (such as networks or organizational fields), connects currently unrelated research
findings, and integrates older thought traditions of studying groups in the sociology, psychology and business literatures.

Three empirical sub-projects that are kicked off in a joint pilot-study contribute to build a theory of entrepreneurial group dynamics:

SP 1 - Crowdsourcing a data set on long-term entrepreneurial group development

SP 2 - Implementing imagined future: Innovation projects in entrepreneurial groups

SP 3 - Time for departure – Exit strategies of entrepreneurial group



Back to Top