University of Twente Student Theses


Entrepreneurial team support for new technology venture development: a design oriented approach

Zondervan, Robin (2012) Entrepreneurial team support for new technology venture development: a design oriented approach.

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Abstract:This thesis is performed in the context of the master study ‘Business Administration’ at the University of Twente, commissioned by Organization X; a business incubator with an enterprise support program focused on the support and development of high-tech new ventures. The problem owner, content expert of team development within Organization X, acknowledged that contemporary entrepreneurial team support offerings possibly lack scientific research findings. In this line, the performance of team support offerings could be improved. Hence, the main goal was to create guidelines derived from literature in how entrepreneurial teams could be effectively supported in the formation and development of their teams. Furthermore, since Organization X is a business incubator which supports entrepreneurs in their business development, our secondary goal was to create additional value by increasing performance by transferring the proposed guidelines to the contemporary situation of Organization X. We outlined the following research questions: 1) Which guidelines can be derived from the literature for the formation and development of new high-tech entrepreneurial teams? 2) How can these guidelines be transferred to high-tech entrepreneurial team support at Organization X? For this business solving project, as our focus was performance-based and we wanted to create value from an individual organizational perspective, we chose to employ design oriented research; more specifically: the regulative cycle. Based on a first exploratory stage we explored and assessed the full scope and depth of the preliminary business problem by interviewing several internal and external stakeholders. The second stage contained the analysis and diagnosis of the proposed problems in relation to team support, i.e. we validated the business problem based on validation interviews and explored the causes and consequences of the problem. The final stage incorporated a theoretical investigation in which we related theoretical insights as solution to the validated problems, formulated several scientific guidelines and designed an integral model of team support. We presented the following guidelines: 1. When supporting entrepreneurial team formation attention is needed on human and social resources 2. When supporting entrepreneurial team formation emphasis is considered necessary on social connections 3. When supporting entrepreneurial team development attention is required on managing relationships 4. When supporting entrepreneurial team development emphasis is vital on team behavior and understanding 5. When supporting entrepreneurial team development priority is essential on personal integration to tasks The next step was to integrate our research findings as idealized design, to the contemporary processes of team support employed by Organization X. In order to do so, we conducted a final round of integration interviews with several internal and external stakeholders. Even though the outcomes showed that most of the current processes of Organization X withstand the scientific evaluation to a great extent, still the design of our tool supports certain process steps and therefore is of value. Furthermore, the integral model provided practical implications, namely as tool for: communication, quality control, formal information repository, input for a real-life team simulation and team formation processes. However, we noticed that as the identified problems weren’t directly related to the content of team support processes, other fundamental problems must exist which constrain contemporary team support processes in order to effectively support entrepreneurs. As the regulative cycle contains multiple feedback loops, we returned to the outcomes of our exploratory interviews and found that several organizational processes exist which constrain team support. In other words, possibly the training program fails to reach its goals due to organizational constraints. To cope with these constraints, we outlined several preliminary recommendations on the basis of the exploratory interviews which Organization X needs to consider when improving performance of their overall enterprise support program. However, as validation and diagnosis has not taken place, the following recommendations are neither complete, nor final. They do however provide preliminary insights as main focus points for further research. Therefore we outlined the following recommendations: 1. Organization X should establish the underlying needs of entrepreneurs before training comes in place 2. The Organization X support program needs a clear structure and needs to be clearly communicated 3. Organization X needs to refocus on the social binding with and between their participants 4. Organization X should create occasional consultation between key stakeholders to build an integral program 5. Organization X ought to relocate resources to implement time-saving and quality-improving instruments 6. Organization X must align its training methods to their specific target group In the final part we evaluated the application of the regulative cycle in our business solving project based on sound theoretical evaluation guidelines. Furthermore, we presented several theoretical contributions from practice, which were generalized from the organizational problems encountered within Organization X. Even though the propositions need to be empirically investigated, they provide a first step in the contribution to theory: 1. Organizational constraints negatively affect training outcomes 2. When the underlying needs of participants are established before training, support will be more effective 3. Clear communication of the contextual factors of an enterprise support program leads to higher participation 4. The greater the social binding between participants, the higher the value of an enterprise support program 5. Facilitating adult learning principles in an enterprise support program leads to more effective practice
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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