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Research Highlights - Do Founding Teams Experience Shared Passion?


Research Highlights: Do Founding Teams Experience Shared Passion?

(Posted on behalf of Tobias Pret) 

Most entrepreneurs are passionate about their ventures. Accordingly, a growing body of research explores the effects of entrepreneurial passion on enterprising individuals. Yet, although businesses are often founded by multiple entrepreneurs, we know comparatively little about how passion works in new venture teams. A recent study by Susana Santos and Melissa Cardon, titled “What's Love Got to Do With it? Team Entrepreneurial Passion and Performance in New Venture Teams” and published in Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, sheds much needed light on this subject.

Santos and Cardon found that “not all new venture teams are unilaterally passionate, nor are they passionate about the same aspects of entrepreneurship.” Indeed, they reveal that “not all teams experience shared passion at all, much less at a high level.” Instead, the researchers show that new venture teams can experience “passion for a single entrepreneurial role; passion for some, but not all, entrepreneurial roles; or passion for all entrepreneurial roles” and that this has a marked impact on their performance.

Interestingly, Santos confided that the collaborative relationship which led to the publication of this study stemmed from “an almost-chance encounter at AOM.” Santos recounts that both she and Cardon happened to be “seated together in a PDW on Women and Academia.” Cardon’s Academy of Management Review article on team entrepreneurial passion had just been published, which encouraged Santos to discuss with her the idea for this empirical study. They ended up having coffee together after the PDW to explore the idea further and then started work on the co-authored paper.

According to Santos, this “shows how the AOM conference and, in particular, the ENT division, is such an important place to get people working together.” Cardon agrees, noting that “if we hadn’t ended up sitting together at the PDW … I wouldn’t have known of our mutual interest in this area of research, and I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of working with Susana.” As such, their story should not only encourage early career researchers to attend conferences, but also actively seek out opportunities to discuss ideas with experienced scholars – you never know what papers may be written as a result.