Start-Up Teams: A Multidimensional Conceptualization, Integrative Review of Past Research, and Future Research Agenda

Knight, A. P., Greer, L. L., & de Jong, B. (2020). Start-up teams: A multidimensional conceptualization, integrative review of past research, and future research agenda. Academy of Management Annals.

Abstract. Academic interest in start-up teams has grown dramatically over the past 40 years, with researchers from a wide variety of disciplines actively studying the topic. Although this widespread interest is encouraging, a review of the literature reveals a lack of consensus in how researchers conceptualize and operationally define start-up teams. A lack of consensus on the core phenomenon—a foundational part of a strong paradigm—has stifled the systematic advancement of knowledge about start-up teams, which has downstream implications for the viability of this field of research. To advance the development of a stronger paradigm, we present a multidimensional conceptualization of start-up teams that is derived from points of consensus in existing definitions. Our multidimensional conceptualization accounts for the fact that, although all are under the umbrella of the concept of “start-up team,” start-up teams vary in a set of key ingredients—ownership of equity, autonomy of strategic decision-making, and entitativity. This conceptualization serves as a framework for reviewing and beginning to integrate past research on start-up teams. It also serves as a framework for guiding and informing an integrated program of future research on start-up teams. By introducing a multidimensional conceptualization of start-up teams, we highlight the value of considering the defining ingredients of start-up teams for furthering a stronger paradigm.