How Events Create Ventures and Ventures Create Entrepreneurs
Chapter 11: Comparing Experiences of Different Types of Entrepreneurs
11. Comparing experiences of different types of entrepreneurs* A thing may be present to a man a hundred times, but if he persistently fails to notice it, it cannot be said to enter into his experience. . . . On the other hand, a thing met only once in a lifetime may leave an indelible experience in the memory. (William James, 1890) INTRODUCTION In this chapter, we explore how venture creation might be experienced in unique ways by different individuals. Specifically, we compare differences in the affective experiences between founders of family and non-family ventures, and between family business founders and non-family managers in the same venture. A methodology is introduced for measuring the affective experiences of each of these three groups and drawing comparisons among them. We focus on family versus non-family businesses because of fundamental differences in the two contexts. Beyond the challenges of inter-generational succession, family firms are distinguished by their governance structures, stakeholders, planning time horizons, capital structures, motives of founders and top managers, risk proclivity, compensation systems, and measures of success (Klein and Bell, 2007; Sirmon and Hitt, 2003). Further, family businesses are fertile fields for psychodynamics such as sibling rivalry, marital discord, and identity conflict among family members – where family issues affect business issues and vice versa. These characteristics suggest the founder is assimilating a diverse range of experiences distinguishing the family venture from its non-family counterparts. The experience of the family business founder might also be expected to vary from that of non-family managers within the...
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