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The organizational design of high-tech startups and product innovation

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  • Grimpe, Christoph
  • Murmann, Martin
  • Sofka, Wolfgang

Abstract

We investigate whether appointing a middle management level affects startups' innovation performance. Additional hierarchical levels are often suspected to restrict innovative activities. However, founders' capacities for information processing and resource allocation are usually strongly limited while, at the same time, R&D decisions are among the most consequential choices of startups. We argue that middle management is positively related to introducing product innovations because it improves the success rates from recombining existing knowledge as well as managing R&D personnel. In addition, we suggest that the effectiveness of these mechanisms depends on the riskiness of a startup's business opportunity. Based on a sample of German high-tech startups, we find support for our conjectures.

Suggested Citation

  • Grimpe, Christoph & Murmann, Martin & Sofka, Wolfgang, 2017. "The organizational design of high-tech startups and product innovation," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-074, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:17074
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    middle management; innovation performance; R&D; startups; organizational design; R&D management;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship

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