Alignment Between Firms and Board Directors: Implications for New Ventures
MetadataShow full item record
The focus of this dissertation is the alignment between firms and their boards of directors in relation to outcomes such as firm growth and director exit from the firm. The thesis asks the following overarching question: How does the interplay between the characteristics of firms and their board directors influence firm- and director-related outcomes? New ventures are of particular interest in this study. While research provides important insights into strategic human resources in ventures (e.g. founders, managers and early employees), we lack a nuanced understanding of boards in new ventures. Furthermore, we cannot directly apply what we have learnt from corporate governance research on traditional corporate boards to the context of new ventures. New ventures’ liabilities of newness, including a scarcity of critical resources, established ties, history and, hence, legitimacy, lead to increased neediness and vulnerabilities for ventures. Therefore, the role of boards in new ventures is different, with their resource-provisional role being the dominant one. My three empirical studies examine three different aspects of the overall research question: (1) To what extent and under what environmental specificities are board directors’ experiences related to the new venture’s growth? (2) To what extent do board interlocks affect the new venture’s growth? (3) To what extent are dissimilarities across a director’s portfolio associated with the likelihood of director exit? This dissertation accentuates and embraces the specificities of new ventures and the differences in firms in general in relation to boards. It contributes to strategic entrepreneurship and corporate governance research in four key ways. First, it extends and enriches insights into boards in new ventures and their impact on venture growth by looking at director endowments (i.e. their experiences and social ties). Second, it theorizes on and examines important moderators of board–venture growth relationships, including environmental uncertainty, something that has not been studied for new venture boards. Third, it uses a portfolio perspective to generate fresh insights into director exit from boards, specifically its antecedents and moderators, examining which firm an interlocking director is more likely to exit. Furthermore, from an empirical perspective, the dissertation proposes a strategy for coming closer to identifying genuinely new ventures, as well as an empirical strategy aimed at mitigating endogeneity. All three studies are enabled by rich registry data covering the populations of the Norwegian firms and residents. The implications of these studies extend directly and indirectly to new ventures.