استدلال غلط در مورد "فقط قوی زنده می ماند" : اثرات انگیزش بیرونی بر تداوم تصمیمات برای شرکت های تحت شکل گیری
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4851||2008||19 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Venturing, Volume 23, Issue 5, September 2008, Pages 528–546
Under-performing firms persist even though existing theoretical perspectives indicate that they should be selected out of the market. Building upon threshold theory [Gimeno, J., Folta, T., Cooper, A., Woo, C., 1997. Survival of the fittest? Entrepreneurial human capital and the persistence of underperforming firms. Administrative Science Quarterly 42, 750–783.] and using Staw's [Staw, B.M., 1981. The escalation of commitment to a course of action. Academy of Management Review 6 (4), 577–587.] theoretical model of commitment to a course of action, we explore and test the factors that lead entrepreneurs to persist with under-performing firms. We found environmental munificence, personal investment, personal options, previous organizational success, and perceived collective efficacy impact the decision to persist with an under-performing firm. In addition, extrinsic motivation moderates those relationships. This research adds to the growing literature on highly persistent, under-performing firms and complements and extends threshold theory.
What explains the persistence of under-performing firms in the market? From a purely economic or population ecology perspective one would expect that these firms would, over time, be selected out of the market. However, previous research (Baden-Fuller, 1989, Gimeno et al., 1997, Karakaya, 2000, Meyer and Zucker, 1989 and van Witteloostuijn, 1998) indicates that firm performance does not fully explain the persistence of under-performing firms. Meyer and Zucker (1989, p. 9) argue that “efficient performance is only one—and not necessarily the most important—determinant of organizational survival.” Under-performing firms often survive over long periods of time, even though they earn a subnormal rate of return. Although there are several perspectives and potential explanations for why these firms persist, our work builds upon that of Gimeno et al. (1997) who found that firms had differing thresholds of performance (reflecting different aspiration levels), which helps explain variance in persistence despite poor performance. Their work suggests that these thresholds differ systematically across firms and can be partially explained by the human capital factors of the owners of such ventures. We build upon their research by exploring factors that contribute to the persistence decision, as well as exploring how an entrepreneur's extrinsic motivation enhances or diminishes the effects of these factors. In investigating the persistence of under-performing firms we make three main contributions. First, through the application of Staw's (1981) theoretical model of commitment processes, we more fully explore the factors that lead entrepreneurs to persist with under-performing firms. Specifically, we develop hypotheses to test how the probability of and perceived value of future outcomes (predicted by environmental complexity, dynamism, and munificence), self-justifying factors (operationalized as personal investment and personal options) and norms for organizational consistency (operationalized as previous organizational success and perceived collective efficacy) impact the persistence decision. Second, an implicit assumption of the economic firm performance perspective is that individuals are homogeneous and make decisions based solely upon their firm's financial performance. However, we contend that there is heterogeneity among entrepreneurs in their extrinsic motivation, which can help explain why some entrepreneurs have a different threshold of performance which ultimately affects their decision to persist with an under-performing firm. Finally, research on firm persistence presents significant methodological challenges. Not only is it difficult identify from a sample of individuals from under-performing entrepreneurial firms, the stories that the entrepreneurs tell may be fraught with bias and error. The conjoint experimental methodology used in this study allows for the capture of the real-time decisions entrepreneurs make to persist or to discontinue operations, while avoiding most biases inherent in research on persistence based upon post-hoc rationalizations. To test our model, we use a sample of entrepreneurs of small firms in high technology industries. Although the literature on small firms lags behind that of larger firms, small firms have the greatest potential to impact an economy (Acs, 1999). Whether these small firms are created to fill the niche generated by larger firms (Penrose, 1959) or created to exploit cutting edge technology, they provide 60–80% of new net jobs, represent 99.7% of all employers and account for 41% of jobs in high technology sectors (Small Business Administration, 2006). In addition, the entrepreneurs in small firms have a larger equity stake in the company (Wasserman, 2003) and greater psychological ownership (Pierce et al., 2001) which allows them to have more discretion than the managers of large firms (Hambrick and Finkelstein, 1987) and more control over exit events (DeTienne, 2007 and Wasserman, 2003). The article proceeds as follows: We begin with an introduction of under-performing persistent firms and threshold theory as they apply to our model. We then develop hypotheses, describe our research method, present our findings, and discuss the results and contributions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The results of this study indicate that entrepreneurs significantly factor in environmental munificence, personal investment, personal options, collective efficacy, and previous organizational success when making a decision about persistence with an under-performing firm. However, one of the most important findings in this study was that there is heterogeneity among entrepreneurs in terms of their extrinsic motivation, and this heterogeneity can help explain why some firms have different thresholds of performance. These results extend previous research in this area, in particular that of Gimeno et al. (1997), and provide a theory-backed rationale for the conditions under which persistence in under-performing firms occur. Individual level variance, in terms of extrinsic motivation, helps explain variance in the influence that results in different relationships between perceived probability and value of future outcomes, self-justification, and norms for consistency, have on the decision to persist with an under-performing firm. These results are now discussed in detail. First, we found a significant, positive relationship between personal investment and persistence. Self-justification theory attributes this relationship to individuals who bias their attitudes in order to justify previous behavior. Entrepreneurs may be particularly susceptible to self-justification because their reputation is often intricately linked to the success or failure of their venture. Our results also suggest that extrinsically motivated entrepreneurs put greater weight on personal investment in making the persistence decision. We expected that extrinsically motivated entrepreneurs would be less influenced by personal investment. However, the way in which extrinsic motivation was operationalized (earnings potential invested), suggests that extrinsically motivated entrepreneurs may emphasize lost wages (an extrinsic cost). One of the entrepreneurs that we interviewed alluded to this bias by commenting, “Personal investment is very important. I started this company 2 1/2 years ago and went without a salary for two years.” This finding is interesting because it indicates that even entrepreneurs who are more extrinsically motivated (which is more consistent with economic perspectives) appear to make decisions based upon personal factors. Second, for the sample as a whole, we found that personal options were marginally (p < .10), negatively related to the decision to persist with the under-performing firm. However, variance in the use of personal options to make the persistence decision is explained, in part, by extrinsic motivation. After adding extrinsic motivation to the equation, personal options were significantly, negatively related to persistence (p < .05). The negative relationship indicates that those entrepreneurs who have other options available to themselves outside of the current under-performing venture were less likely to persist. This was especially true for those entrepreneurs who are extrinsically motivated. It is also possible that some personal investments may actually increase the number of personal options available to the entrepreneur. For example, personal investments in the firm can increase the entrepreneur's general human capital (Becker, 1975), which is a basis for increasing the number and quality of other personal options. Therefore, personal investments may directly increase persistence (consistent with the findings of this study) but decrease persistence by increasing the entrepreneur's personal options. It is also possible that while general human capital negatively impacts persistence, firm-specific human capital may increase persistence (Coff, 1997). Future research could investigate the concurrent and perhaps opposing influences of personal investments on persistence using human capital theories (Becker, 1975). Third, we found that the perceived collective efficacy of the organization had a significant effect on the decision by the entrepreneur to persist in the market. When entrepreneurs perceived the collective efficacy to be high, persistence was higher. Scholars have been slow to recognize the importance of collective efficacy. However, our findings suggest that entrepreneurs have not. Two entrepreneurs expressed it this way, “Belief in itself is very important—changing a company culture is very difficult,” and, “Organizational belief is really, really important. If people believe…you've got something.” Our results indicate that the perceived collective efficacy of an organization is important to entrepreneurs. “Once a collective belief takes hold, it tends to perpetuate itself” (Royer, 2003, p. 53). As Shamir (1990) points out, many of the new organizational structures are built on cooperation and require strong linkages between entrepreneur and collective effort. Caution is advised however as collective belief can become so strong that it causes entrepreneurs to make irrational decisions (Royer, 2003). Royer (2003, p. 55) argues that “exit champions” may be as important to the organization as project champions. An interesting area of future research would be to explore the impact that exit champions have on entrepreneurial decision-making. Fourth, we found a significant, positive relationship between previous organizational success and persistence. Although previous success is an event that occurred in the past and the past does not guarantee future results, entrepreneurs were more likely to persist with the firm that had previous success. In commenting about previous organizational success, one entrepreneur stated, “Previous success is important because you have figured out the formula before.” Despite the fact that there is evidence that suggests the need for change (under-performance), entrepreneurs in previously successful firms are more likely to persist. Above we argued that this may be due to overconfidence, consistency, and attribution biases. Another possible explanation is that entrepreneurs within a previously successful organization may fall into a reinforcement trap (March, 1978). These reinforcement traps, which are most common with entrepreneurs in leadership positions, (Ross and Staw, 1993) are situations in which people assume, because of previous success, that they will be able to turn losing courses of action around. The basis for a reinforcement trap is less likely to be due to a desire for consistency, but rather it is an ego related psychological state in which some entrepreneurs believe they have the tools required to achieve a given level of success even though evidence indicates the unlikelihood of such a result. In our interviews, we encountered some entrepreneurs who confirmed the possibility that previous success may be a reinforcement trap. One entrepreneur commented, “Because I have done work in turnarounds, I am more likely to hang around if the organization has had previous success.” Future research in this area should focus on the relationship between reinforcement traps and the aforementioned biases. For example is there a relationship between overconfidence and reinforcement traps? Are entrepreneurs with high self-efficacy or habitual entrepreneurs more likely to fall into reinforcement traps? And ultimately what impact does this have on the persistence of under-performing firms? The emerging cognitive perspective in the entrepreneurship literature (e.g. Mitchell et al., 2002) may provide a strong theoretical perspective from which to view these questions. Although we found strong evidence that previous organizational success impacts persistence, it may be that not all incidences of previous success have the same degree of impact. For example, does previous success in raising equity capital or in product development have more impact on persistence than does success in the market place? Are successful habitual entrepreneurs more or less likely to persist with an under-performing firm? It will be illuminating for future research to further analyze previous success and ascertain whether certain types of success are more likely to lead to persistence. Another interesting point to consider is the impact that time might have on the relationship between previous success and threshold levels. Over time previously successful organizations might actually adjust their threshold or aspiration levels upward; thus they may reach a point at which the positive effect of previous success on persistence begins to decline. A more fine-grained investigation of the factors that lead to these adjustments is a critical next-step to explore these potential extensions to threshold theory. Fifth, environmental munificence, the extent to which the environment can support sustained growth (Starbuck, 1976) was the most important factor to the entrepreneurs studied in this research. Entrepreneurs were more likely to persist in markets where the growth capacity was high and less likely to persist in markets where the growth capacity was low. Several commented on the importance of environmental munificence. For example, stating, “Growth capacity really tells you ‘what is the upside’,” and, “Growth capacity is important because without it, you must ‘steal’ or ‘pull’ market share from competitors, which is much more difficult.” Although the high significance levels associated with this factor may be due, in part, to the industry in which this study was conducted, this finding is important because it points to the significance of the external environment in entrepreneur's decision policies. One explanation for the importance of munificence is the belief that persistence may lead to something else. They may have already determined “what we have is not working, but if we remain active in a highly munificent environment, something big may happen.” One can never be certain when serendipity may play a role in causing the big break for which a firm is waiting. “Chance plays a significant role in affecting the decision and subsequent course of innovation adoption” (Van de Ven et al., 1999, p. 197). Therefore, entrepreneurs may choose to persist with an under-performing firm in a munificent environment because they believe that their persistence will lead to something else. Although we believe that our findings provide important answers and direct future research, this study is not without limitations. In the methods section we described the potential limitations associated with conjoint analysis. In addition, we recognize that there are other stakeholders within the organization (e.g. investors, employees) who may also have a financial stake, a governance responsibility, and a decision-making role; thus, our findings are generalizable only to those organizations in which the decision-making power is centralized with the entrepreneur. Future research should focus upon other stakeholders and how they may limit the ability of entrepreneurs to make persistence decisions. In conclusion, our research provides important answers to the question of why under-performing firms persist. These answers complement and extend the traditional economic rational arguments and extend Staw's (1981) model of commitment to under-performing firms to show that components of the model, encompassing our five specific factors, were important to the persistence decision. In addition, our findings extend threshold theory (Gimeno et al., 1997) in that we found that heterogeneity among entrepreneurs in terms of their extrinsic motivation can explain why some firms have different thresholds of performance.