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How the Zebra Got Its Stripes: Imprinting of Individuals and Hybrid Social Ventures

  • Matthew Lee

    ()

    (Harvard Business School)

  • Julie Battilana

    ()

    (Harvard Business School, Organizational Behavior Unit)

Registered author(s):

    Hybrid organizations that combine multiple, existing organizational forms are frequently proposed as a source of organizational innovation, yet little is known about the origins of such organizations. We propose that individual founders of hybrid organizations acquire imprints from past exposure to work environments, thus predisposing them to incorporate the associated logics in their subsequent ventures, even when doing so requires deviation from established organizational templates. We test our theory on a novel dataset of over 700 founders of social ventures, all guided by a social welfare logic. Some of them also incorporate a commercial logic along with the social welfare logic, thereby creating a hybrid social venture. We find evidence of three sources of commercial imprints: the founder's own, direct work experience, as well as the indirect influence of parental work experiences and professional education. Our findings further suggest that the effects of direct imprinting are strongest from the early tenure of for-profit experience, but diminish with longer tenure. In supplementary analyses, we parse out differences between the sources of imprints and discuss implications for how imprinting functions as an antecedent to the creation of new, hybrid forms.

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    File URL: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/pages/download.aspx?name=14-005.pdf
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    Paper provided by Harvard Business School in its series Harvard Business School Working Papers with number 14-005.

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    Length: 51 pages
    Date of creation: Jul 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hbs:wpaper:14-005
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    1. Davidsson, Per & Honig, Benson, 2003. "The role of social and human capital among nascent entrepreneurs," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 301-331, May.
    2. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521828130 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Mair, Johanna & Martí, Ignasi, 2006. "Social entrepreneurship research: A source of explanation, prediction, and delight," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 36-44, February.
    4. Ã…stebro, Thomas & Thompson, Peter, 2011. "Entrepreneurs, Jacks of all trades or Hobos?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 637-649, June.
    5. Justin van der Sluis & Mirjam van Praag & Wim Vijverberg, 2008. "Education And Entrepreneurship Selection And Performance: A Review Of The Empirical Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(5), pages 795-841, December.
    6. Coviello, Nicole E. & Jones, Marian V., 2004. "Methodological issues in international entrepreneurship research," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 485-508, July.
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