Scrubbed Huffington Post article on Hillary, Soros, and Black Lives Matter

(This article appeared briefly in the Huffington Post in August 2015. It links George Soros and Hillary Clinton to the disruptions of  Bernie Sanders political rallies by members of the group Black Lives Matters, which Soros bankrolls to the tune of millions of dollars. The article lasted a few hours on the  liberal Huffington Post until its liberal editors pulled the article and scrubbed it from the Internet. This article was recovered via cache retrieval methods.)

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a Democratic primary candidate for the 2016 Presidential election, has been protested, heckled, and prevented from speaking multiple times by “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) protesters during the recent weeks of his campaign. This includes at the progressive Netroots Nation conference in Phoenix, Arizona in July, and over the weekend in Seattle, Washington. Black Lives Matter is a movement which gained notoriety in the wake of multiple killings of unarmed black men by police officers in the US. The message of BLM is hugely important; I couldn’t agree more with the underlying message of BLM. There are undeniable systemic inequalities in the US that disproportionately impact and affect black Americans. By working on and trying to solve these problems, life will improve for all Americans, regardless of race. This is beyond question.

However, I’m concerned with the recent protests against Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and Democratic long shot candidate Martin O’Malley. Noticeably absent from the list of candidates protested in this way by BLM activists are Hillary Clinton, and the entire slate of Republican candidates.

Particularly distasteful about these protesters is that Bernie Sanders is the candidate who would most positively change the issues cited as important by BLM. Senator Sanders’ past record and campaign platform unequivocally show that among the Democratic and Republican candidates for President, he is the best option for improving on the systemic issues facing black Americans. If BLM is only going to protest some of the 2016 candidates, the candidate who should be last on the list to protest is Bernie Sanders.

Relying solely on publicly available and widely reported data, we have to ask whether this incongruity between Sanders’ politics and the clear desire by BLM to protest Sanders could be the result of pro-Hillary Clinton astroturfing involving, in part, liberal billionaire George Soros.

Disclaimer: I am a fan of George Soros. I have read his writing, I have followed him for a long time, I find his personal story incredibly compelling, and I agree with most of the groups he funds.

This story is not about George Soros as a person, but merely an exploration of what role he and pro-Hillary Clinton activists have within the BLM protests of Senator Bernie Sanders.

What we do know:

–The BLM buzzword was grown & publicized greatly by groups stemming from the Ferguson, Missouri protests, including Colorlines News for Action, Organization for Black Struggle, and the Drug Policy Alliance.
–George Soros spent over $30 million bankrolling these groups
–George Soros is also one of the top funders of Hillary Clinton SuperPACs, including Priorities USA Action and American Bridge 21st Century.
–Hillary Clinton has not been the target of these recent BLM protests.

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Team composition of new venture founding teams: does personality matter?

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research
Team composition of new venture founding teams: does personality matter?
Wencang Zhou Huajing Hu Michael Zey
Article information:
To cite this document:
Wencang Zhou Huajing Hu Michael Zey , (2015),”Team composition of new venture founding teams:
does personality matter?”, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 21 Iss 5
pp. 673 – 689
Permanent link to this document:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-04-2014-0072
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References: this document contains references to 74 other documents.
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education: a need for reflection, real-world experience and action”, International Journal of
Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, Vol. 21 Iss 5 pp. 690-708 http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/
IJEBR-07-2014-0123
Tove Brink, Svend Ole Madsen, (2015),”Entrepreneurial learning requires action on the meaning
generated”, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, Vol. 21 Iss 5 pp.
650-672 http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-09-2014-0171
Hossein Samei, Alireza Feyzbakhsh, (2015),”Predecessors competency framework for nurturing
successors in family firms”, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, Vol.
21 Iss 5 pp. 731-752 http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-02-2015-0043
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Team composition of new
venture founding teams: does
personality matter?
Wencang Zhou
School of Business, Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey, USA
Huajing Hu
Robert B. Willumstad School of Business, Adelphi University, New York,
New York, USA, and
Michael Zey
School of Business, Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey, USA
Abstract
Purpose – First, using the task-relationship dichotomy as a framework, the purpose of this paper is to
examine the direct effects of team personality level and team personality diversity on new venture
growth. Second, the study examines the interaction effects of team personality level and diversity on
venture growth.
Design/methodology/approach – The sample consisted of 154 teams in a technology incubator in
China. Data were collected through an online survey.
Findings – Results indicate that high level but low diversity of team task-oriented personality
was beneficial for new venture founding teams. Diversity of team task-oriented personality would
hurt the new venture growth more when the level of task-oriented personality was low.
Relationship-oriented personality diversity, but not the level of relationship-oriented personality,
influenced new venture growth.
Research limitations/implications – These findings advance research in entrepreneurship,
groups, and teams, and provide practical policy implications as well.
Practical implications – This study provides practical implications for policy makers
regarding what supports should be provided in incubators and for entrepreneurs regarding team
member selection.
Originality/value – This is one of the first papers to study the personality composition of new
venture founding teams.
Keywords Personality, Entrepreneurial teams, Team composition
Paper type Research paper
Introduction
More new ventures are created by teams rather than by sole entrepreneurs (Aldrich
et al., 2004; Davidsson and Honig, 2003). Hunsdiek (1987) reports that new high-tech
ventures in Germany have a median of 2.2 entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurial teams are
founders of 70 percent of the firms in the high-tech industries in the USA (Cooper et al.,
1990). And team-started businesses account for a disproportionately greater number of
high-growth firms (Kamm et al., 1990). The composition of new venture founding teams
potentially shapes new business growth (Wright and Vanaelst, 2009), because the
members of the team at the top make big decisions and shape the strategy, culture, and
structure of the new venture (Finkelstein et al., 2009). Although recent research has paid
increasing attention to the composition of new venture founding teams (Cooney, 2005;
Harper, 2008; Zhou et al., 2015), significant research gaps exist regarding how
new venture founding teams form and how team composition relates to new
International Journal of
Entrepreneurial Behavior &
Research
Vol. 21 No. 5, 2015
pp. 673-689
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
1355-2554
DOI 10.1108/IJEBR-04-2014-0072
Received 29 April 2014
Revised 24 November 2014
27 March 2015
Accepted 9 April 2015
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
http://www.emeraldinsight.com/1355-2554.htm
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venture growth. A review of the entrepreneurial team literature (Zhou and Rosini, 2015)
reveals three specific research needs.
First, while prior research generally focusses on team demographic composition and
human capital variables, such as age (Wiersema and Bantel, 1992), race (Cooper et al.,
1994), education (Almus and Nerlinger, 1999; Zhou et al., 2015), functional background
(Amason et al., 2006), and experience (Shrader and Siegel, 2007), research on personality
composition of new venture founding teams remains limited (Simsek et al., 2010; Zhou
and Rosini, 2015). This is surprising given the fact that the importance of team
personality composition to team performance has been documented in research on
small groups (Harrison et al., 2002; Bell, 2007). Since studies focussing on demographic
variables only found mixed results regarding the effects of team composition on
venture growth (Zhou et al., 2015), it would seem desirable to investigate the issue of
personality composition of founding teams.
Second, to study the personality composition of teams, researchers must address the
issue of how the individual personality traits should be aggregated to the team level.
Plenty of studies have used the influential Big Five model of personality (Costa and
McCrae, 1988; Digman, 1990) to examine team personality composition (Stewart, 2006;
Bell, 2007; Barrick et al., 1998). However, recent reviews have suggested that
personality traits hold weak overall relationships with team performance (Bell, 2007;
Peeters et al., 2006). Halfhill et al. (2005) attribute the weak overall relationships to the
method by which the trait scores were aggregated to the team level and called for
appropriate aggregation methods to study team personality composition.
Moreover, previous research on personality in teams has been focussing on its direct
effects on team outcomes (Stewart, 2006; Bell, 2007; Barrick et al., 1998; Mohammed and
Angell, 2003). However, the understanding of how personality affects team outcomes
via its influence on team processes remains underdeveloped (Moynihan and Peterson,
2001). Team personality diversity influences team outcomes not only as an input factor
but also as a contextual factor, altering the team processes.
In response to these research needs, this study explores not only the direct effects of
team personality composition but also its interaction effects on new venture growth.
Thus, this study has two primary goals. First, we used the task-relationship dichotomy
(Halfhill et al., 2005; Prewett et al., 2009) as a framework to aggregate individual
trait scores into the team level and examined the direct effects of team personality level
and team personality diversity on new venture growth. Second, we examined the
interaction effects of team personality level and diversity on venture growth.
Theory and hypotheses
Since its conception, the Big Five model of personality (Costa and McCrae, 1988;
Digman, 1990) has been commonly used to study the team personality composition
(Stewart, 2006; Bell, 2007; Barrick et al., 1998). While meta-analytic evidence has
witnessed the effect of Big Five traits on team performance, this link has been found to
be weak (Bell, 2007; Peeters et al., 2006). And moreover, the study of personality traits
on team performance in the context of entrepreneurship remains scarce (Zhou and
Rosini, 2015). One possible explanation regarding the weak link between personality
composition and team performance is how the trait scores were aggregated to
the team level (Halfhill et al., 2005). Rather than studying Big Five personality traits,
Halfhill et al. (2005) used a task-relationship dichotomy as a framework to aggregate
the Big Five personality traits into two broad categories: task-oriented personality
and relationship-oriented personality. This method is consistent with Rauch and
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Frese’s (2007) claim that in the study of team personality composition researchers
should ask if the trait is matched to the task or not. As a matter of fact, the notion of a
task-relationship dichotomy in general team process is well established (McGrath,
1984) and has been adopted by recent meta-analytic reviews (e.g. Prewett et al., 2009).
Therefore, in this study we propose that a good match between traits and the tasks of
running a business allows for higher validities in the context of entrepreneurship
research than personality traits not matched to entrepreneurship.
Task-oriented personality composition and venture growth
Which personality traits are task-oriented? According to Halfhill et al. (2005) some
personality traits help individuals to complete work-related activities. Such traits are
referred to as task-oriented personality traits. Among the Big Five personality traits,
conscientiousness and openness to experience are this type of task-oriented personality
traits. More specifically conscientiousness represents the degree to which individuals
are achievement oriented, orderly, punctual, dependable, and self-disciplined, and
openness to experience refers to whether people accept new experiences, are interested
in unusual thought processes and possess creative tendencies (McCrae and John, 1992).
In researching the impact of team task-oriented personality composition on new
venture growth, it is desirable to discuss the nature of tasks or activities that new
venture founding teams have to deal with daily. The nature of the entrepreneurial tasks
requires that the founding team members have a high level of task-oriented personality
traits. First, new venture activities are usually unambiguous, unstructured, and
complex (Ensley et al., 2006). These activities particularly require team members to be
highly detail-focussed and achievement oriented so that the team could establish
the structure and rules that benefit the new venture over time. Second, new ventures
usually face extensive market competition with competitors. To succeed in the
competitive market, founding team members need to be highly motivated and hard
working. Third, the entrepreneurial tasks that new venture teams face are also
characterized by innovation and creativity. Founding teams with higher level of
task-oriented personality traits are better off carrying on these entrepreneurial
activities. For example, the team needs a higher level of conscientiousness to organize
and direct necessary behaviors to produce targeted outcomes and motivate employees
to fulfill their job duties more diligently and with more effort (Peterson et al., 2003).
New venture teams high in openness to experience question old assumptions and
stimulate new perspectives or ways of doing things ( Judge et al., 2002). Consequently,
founding teams with greater openness are more likely to encourage creative,
unconventional behaviors in the workplace. Such creativity is relevant for new
ventures for recognizing opportunities and stimulating novel ideas about products and
practices (Ensley et al., 2002). Therefore, we propose the effects of overall task-oriented
personality level and each single task-oriented personality trait level:
H1. Team task-oriented personality level will positively relate to new venture growth.
H1-1. As a task-oriented personality trait, team openness level will positively relate
to new venture growth.
H1-2. As a task-oriented personality trait, team conscientiousness level will
positively relate to new venture growth.
Team mean score on a personality trait is only one aspect of team personality
composition. Other aspects of a team’s personality composition include the diversity of
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personality scores across members, the highest member score, and the lowest score.
Among these aspects, the mean score and diversity methods have been widely used by
researches in team composition research (Prewett et al., 2009). Mean score and diversity
score describe different aspects of a team’s personality composition. For example, if a
team has a high-mean score on extraversion, this might be due to a uniformly high
score on extraversion across team members (diversity is low) or due to some team
members having extremely high-extraversion scores (diversity is high as well).
Team task-oriented personality diversity may influence new venture growth as well.
For new venture founding teams, it is critical that team members have a common
shared purpose (Carson et al., 2007). Shared purpose indicates that all the team
members have similar understandings of and commitment to their team’s primary
objectives and take steps to ensure a focus on collective goals (Carson et al., 2007).
Teams with low diversity of task-oriented personality scores should agree with one
another on process decisions, including the degree of effort to put forth and the level of
performance desired (goal-setting). This will help the team build a higher level of
common sense of purpose and agreed-upon goals. Consequently team members are
more likely to feel motivated, empowered, and committed to their team and work
(Kirkman and Rosen, 1999; Liden et al., 2000; O’Leary-Kelly et al., 1994). Teams with a
higher level of diversity on task-oriented personality may find it difficult to build
common purpose and agree on major decisions. Moreover, similarity of such attitudes
among team members results in a friendly atmosphere and a strong identification with
the entrepreneurial team and the new venture. Entrepreneurial teams homogeneous in
conscientiousness may prevent social loafing behavior of team members and ensure
that all team members put effort into the entrepreneurial process. Otherwise, if
entrepreneurial team members are very diverse in conscientiousness, team members
will interpret the goals differently resulting in team conflict. Therefore, we hypothesize
that team task-oriented personality diversity will negatively relate to new venture
growth, and this negative effect will be stronger when the team task-oriented
personality level is low:
H2. (a) Team task-oriented personality diversity will negatively relate to new
venture growth; (b) this relationship will be moderated by team task-oriented
personality level so that when the task-oriented personality level is low the
negative effect will be stronger.
H2-1. (a) As a task-oriented personality trait, openness diversity will negatively
relate to new venture growth; (b) this relationship will be moderated by team
openness level so that when the openness level is low the negative effect will
be stronger.
H2-2. (a) As a task-oriented personality trait, conscientiousness diversity will
negatively relate to new venture growth; (b) this relationship will be moderated
by team conscientiousness level so that when the conscientiousness level is low
the negative effect will be stronger.
Relationship-oriented personality composition and venture growth
In addition to the task-oriented personality traits, there are another three Big Five
personality traits – extraversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability – that help
facilitate the interpersonal interactions necessary for working as an effective team.
These three traits were classified as relationship-oriented personality traits. Individuals
scoring high on extraversion tend to be assertive, enthusiastic, talkative, and
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gregarious and enjoy human interactions. Extraverts generally take pleasure in social
activities, such as community activities, public demonstrations, and business
groups (Costa and McCrae, 1992). Another relationship-oriented personality trait,
agreeableness, reflects individual differences in cooperation and social harmony.
On the one hand, individuals scoring high on agreeableness are perceived as being
kind, sympathetic, cooperative, warm, considerate, and helpful. On the other hand, they
tend to believe that most people are honest, decent, and trustworthy (Digman, 1990).
In a team setting, agreeable members are interested in helping peers and dealing with
team conflict in a cooperative and collaborative way. The third relationship-oriented
personality trait – emotional stability – depicts individuals’ capacity to maintain
emotional balance under stressful situations. Individuals scoring high on emotional
stability are less reactive to stress and tend to be even-tempered, well-adjusted, relaxed,
self-assured, and calm (McCrae and John, 1992).
Maintaining a certain level on relationship-oriented personality traits helps
founding teams build better team climate and perform effectively on different activities.
Effectively resolving relationship conflict and building a cohesive founding team are
critical to new venture success. Foo et al. (2006) found that the level of interpersonal
interaction, pride, and excitement among team members related to higher level of new
venture founding team viability and satisfaction. Moreover, because of the high level of
uncertainty and extensive competition, members of new venture founding teams
usually experience high stress levels. To be successful, it is critical that team members
show emotional, psychological, and social support for each other (Carson et al., 2007).
Team members could support each other through encouraging and recognizing
individual contributions and accomplishments (Marks et al., 2001). Relationship-oriented
personality traits help new venture founding teams build the supportive team climate
where team members develop a sense of shared responsibility for team outcomes
(Kirkman and Rosen, 1999). For example, teams high on agreeableness and emotional
stability could create a positive team climate, de-emphasizing status and power
differences, and encouraging information sharing among team members (Peterson et al.,
2003). Relationship-oriented personality traits not only help build a supporting and
cohesive founding team but also help the team effectively interact with outsiders.
Cable and Shane (1997) showed that teams with high levels of agreeableness and
emotional stability help founding teams establish trusting relationships with venture
capitalists (Cable and Shane, 1997). Thus, we propose that relationship-oriented
personality level will improve new venture growth:
H3. Team relationship-oriented personality level will positively relate to new
venture growth.
H3-1. As a relationship-oriented personality trait, team extraversion level will
positively relate to new venture growth.
H3-2. As a relationship-oriented personality trait, team agreeableness level will
positively relate to new venture growth.
H3-3. As a relationship-oriented personality trait, team emotional stability level will
positively relate to new venture growth.
How would relationship-oriented personality diversity influence new venture growth?
That is, should new venture founding teams be composed of members who all score
high on relationship-oriented personality dimensions? New venture founding teams are
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characterized by high level of interdependence; that is, the performance of a new
venture team is highly dependent on the level of cooperation and work interaction
among team members (Stewart and Barrick, 2000). Simply put, within founding teams
task interdependence requires that team members assume different team roles when
the situation dictates. Diversity on relationship-oriented personality traits facilitates
team interpersonal process and promotes role differentiation in several ways. Team
roles refer to the behavioral characteristics of each team member, and how the
interrelationships of team members influence team process. To a certain degree team
members adopt natural roles in a team based upon individuals’ preference and
personality (Belbin, 1993). In a new venture founding team, members need to assume
different roles as well. Miner (1997) defined four types of entrepreneurs: personal
achiever, real manager, expert idea generator, and empathic super salespeople. While
all these roles are necessary for venture growth, each role is more likely to be assumed
by different team member based on personality difference. For instance, effectiveness
of a founding team depends on each team member assuming a different leadership role
and coordinating effectively. For example, in new ventures, team members high in
extraversion usually adopt a transformational leadership style, set visionary goals, and
encourage risk taking and creativity (Hofmann and Jones, 2005). Moreover, extraverted
members show initiative, take actions, and influence the opinions and actions of other
members (Bateman and Crant, 1993). Team members who are high in introversion,
however, seek depth over breadth, and delve into issues and ideas before moving on to
new ones (Neuman et al., 1999). A high level of diversity on agreeableness helps new
venture founding teams as well. On the one hand, a high level of agreeableness helps
teams build trusting relationships with venture capitalists (Cable and Shane, 1997) or
among entrepreneurial team members (Eisenhardt and Schoonhoven, 1990), whereas
team members lower in agreeableness might be more likely to express concerns about
unreasonable ideas and prevent teams from engaging in groupthink. Moreover,
because entrepreneurial teams usually only have limited resources and small room for
error, all members being too trusting may be detrimental to the teams’ survival and
growth (Zhao and Seibert, 2006). Diversity on the other relationship-oriented
personality trait, emotional stability, is beneficial to new venture founding teams as
well. Research evidence showed that individuals scoring low on emotional stability
were better at identifying threats (Tamir et al., 2006) and avoiding the danger from the
environment (Nettle, 2006). However, the work environment, workload, work-family
conflict and financial risk associated with starting and running a new business can
produce high physical and psychological stress. Team members scoring high on
emotional stability are able to help the team better deal with these stressors and
establish good relations with customers, employees, suppliers, financiers, and other
people related to the business to run it effectively and efficiently. Therefore, we
hypothesize that team relationship-oriented personality diversity will positively
relate to new venture growth, and this effect will be stronger when the team
relationship-oriented personality level is high:
H4. (a) Team relationship-oriented personality diversity will positively relate to
new venture growth; (b) this relationship will be moderated by team
relationship-oriented personality level so that when the relationship-oriented
personality level is high the positive effect will be stronger.
H4-1. (a) As a relationship-oriented personality trait, extraversion diversity will
positively relate to new venture growth; (b) this relationship will be moderated
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by team extraversion level so that when the extraversion level is high the
positive effect will be stronger.
H4-2. (a) As a relationship-oriented personality trait, agreeableness diversity will
positively relate to new venture growth; (b) this relationship will be moderated
by team agreeableness level so that when the agreeableness level is high the
positive effect will be stronger.
H4-3. (a) As a relationship-oriented personality trait, emotional stability diversity
will positively relate to new venture growth; (b) this relationship will be
moderated by team emotional stability level so that when the emotional
stability level is high the positive effect will be stronger.
Figure 1 displays the hypothesized relationships among team personality composition
and new venture growth.
Method
Sample
The sample of the current study consisted of 200 new venture founding teams in a
technology incubator in eastern China. The characteristics of the teams include:
team members are college students or those who have graduated within the last
five years; the start-up was registered after 2008; and the leading entrepreneur has
more than 30 percent of the ownership of the start-up. The focus on firms within
a single region allows us to hold constant key labor market and environmental
conditions.
Measures
This study used a cross-sectional study design. A web-based survey instrument was
created that included questions about independent, dependent, moderator/mediator,
Task-oriented
Personality Diversity
New Venture
Growth
Task-oriented
Personality Level
Relationshiporiented
Personality
Level
H2a–
H2b
H4b
Relationship-oriented
Personality Diversity
H3+
H4a+
H1+
Figure 1.
Theoretical
framework of team
personality diversity
and new venture
performance
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and control variables as well as other background information about the new
venture and its founding team. The instrument was translated into Chinese
and back-translated into English by two independent bilinguals to ensure
meaning equivalence across the two cultures. Details regarding the measures are
as follows.
Team personality composition. Team members’ Big Five personality traits were
measured by the Chinese version of NEO-Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) (Costa
and McCrae, 1992). The NEO-FFI has 60 items (12 items per domain) on five NEO
domains: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness,
and emotional stability. NEO-FFI was used for this study because it is a widely used
personality measure with high reliability. The Cronbach’s coefficient α for the five
dimensions have ranged from 0.75 to 0.83. The scale was also cross-culturally
validated, and the robustness of the NEO-FFI has been proven in the Chinese culture
(Costa and McCrae, 1992). Means and standard deviations on each Big Five
personality trait were calculated at the team level (Barrick et al., 1998). Team mean
scores on task-oriented and relationship-oriented personality were calculated by
averaging the team members’ scores on the corresponding personality traits.
Standard deviations on openness and conscientiousness were averaged to get the
task-oriented personality diversity score. Standard deviations on agreeableness,
extraversion, and emotional stability were averaged to get the relationship-oriented
personality diversity score.
New venture growth. New venture growth was measured by the employment growth
rate from year 2009 to 2011. The employment growth rate has been widely used in
empirical research as an objective measure of start-up performance (Colomb and
Delmastro, 2002; Löfsten and Lindelöf, 2002; Westhead and Storey, 1994). The current
study adopted this performance measure because other objective performance
measures (e.g. profit, sales) were not publically available and the sampled firms were
unwilling to provide such data.
Control variables. Team size has been shown to influence team process and
functioning (Bantel and Finkelstein, 1991; Kirkman and Rosen, 1999). Employee
ownership affects a member’s commitment to an enterprise and willingness to work
together productively (Buchko, 1992). Therefore team size and ownership dispersion
were included as control variables. Ownership dispersion was measured by the formula
used by Jacquemin and Berry (1979):
Owner dispersion ¼
XN
i¼1
Si ln
1
Si

where Si is the percentage of shares owned by the ith entrepreneurial team member.
The value of ownership dispersion increases as ownership is spread more evenly
across team members.
In total 154 new founding teams (response rate¼77 percent) consisting of 516
entrepreneurs responded to our survey. The average age of entrepreneurs was 28 years
(SD¼3.6): 42 percent of respondents were female and 57.9 percent were male. The final
data analysis was based on usable data from 144 new founding teams, because ten
founding team consisted of only two members for each team and a diversity measure
could not be calculated.
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Results
Hypothesis testing using task vs relationship dichotomy
Table I presents the means, standard deviations, and zero-order correlations for all of the
variables used in the analysis. Moderated hierarchical regression and simple slopes
analysis were used to test all hypotheses. The predictor variables were mean-centered, and
the criterion variable was standardized using a z score to improve graph interpretability
(Cohen et al., 2003). In Step 1, control variables, team size, and ownership dispersion, were
entered. In Step 2, main effects of personality composition variables were tested. In Step 3,
the product term for the interaction of personality level and diversity were entered.
H1 proposed that task-oriented personality level would positively relate to new
venture growth. As indicated in Table II, task-oriented personality level was a
significant predictor of venture growth ( β¼0.31, po0.01) in Model 1. Model 1 also
provided support for H2a that task-oriented personality diversity would negatively
relate to new venture growth ( β¼−0.18, po0.05). To test H2b that team task-oriented
personality level would moderate the relationship between task-oriented personality
diversity and new venture growth, moderated hierarchical regression was conducted in
Model 1. As noted in Table II, the interaction term of team task-oriented personality
level and task-oriented personality diversity was significant ( β¼−0.15, po0.05).
Therefore, H2b was also supported. We also conducted a simple slopes analysis (Aiken
and West, 1991) to depict the predicted interaction effect of task-oriented personality
level and diversity, providing strong support for H2b (Figure 2).
Mean SD 1 2 3 4 5 6
1 Team size 3.50 0.68
2 Ownership dispersion 0.20 0.33 −0.06
3 Task personality level 30.00 3.96 −0.04 0.02
4 Task personality diversity 6.00 3.05 −0.01 0.07 −0.10
5 Relationship personality level 28.87 3.60 0.09 0.12 0.52** 0.01
6 Relationship personality diversity 6.17 2.92 0.10 −0.09 0.31** 0.05 0.05
7 Employment growth rate 0.49 0.53 0.02 −0.03 0.33** −0.22** 0.11 0.31**
Notes: n¼144 teams. *po0.05; **po0.01
Table I.
Descriptive
statistics
Step 1 Step 2 Step 3
Control
Team size 0.02 0.03 0.03
Ownership dispersion −0.03 −0.02 −0.02
Main
Task-oriented personality level 0.31** 0.25**
Task-oriented personality diversity −0.18* −0.17*
Interaction
Task-oriented personality level × diversity −0.15*
Model F statistics 0.09 5.81** 5.07**
R2 0.01 0.14 0.16
ΔR2 0.13 0.02
Notes: n¼144 teams. β, standardized regression coefficient. *po0.05; **po0.01
Table II.
Task-oriented
personality
composition and
employment growth
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H3 predicted that team relationship-oriented personality level would positively
relate to new venture growth. As noted in Table III, however, this hypothesis was not
supported in Model 2 ( β¼0.10, ns). H4a proposed that team relationship-oriented
personality diversity would positively relate to new venture growth; it was supported in
Model 2 ( β¼0.31, po0.01). The interaction term of relationship-oriented personality level
and diversity was insignificant ( β¼0.10, ns), thus H4b was not supported.
Hypothesis testing for each of the Big Five personality traits
To test each of the sub-hypotheses (H1-1, H1-2, H2-1, H2-2, H3-1, H3-2, H3-3, H4-1,
H4-2, H4-3), we regressed employment growth on each of the Big Five personality
traits’ mean score, diversity score, and the interaction term. By doing so we could
understand which of task-oriented or relationship-oriented personality trait has more
significant effect on new venture growth. Table IV shows the results for the regression
analysis.
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
Low Task-oriented
Personality Diversity
High Task-oriented
Personality Diversity
New Venture Growth
Low Task-oriented
Personality Level
High Task-oriented
Personality Level
Figure 2.
Interaction effect
of task-oriented
personality level and
diversity on new
venture growth
Step 1 Step 2 Step 3
Control
Team size 0.02 −0.01 0.01
Ownership dispersion −0.03 −0.02 −0.03
Main
Relationship-oriented personality level 0.10 0.08
Relationship-oriented personality diversity 0.31** 0.28**
Interaction
Relationship-oriented personality level×diversity −0.13
Model F statistics 0.09 4.14** 3.81**
R2 0.01 0.11 0.12
ΔR2 0.10 0.01
Notes: n¼144 teams. β, standardized regression coefficient. *po0.05; **po0.01
Table III.
Relationship-oriented
personality
composition and
employment growth
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Discussion
Research on personality composition of new venture founding teams remains limited
(Simsek et al., 2007; Zhou, 2013). The findings of this study increase our understanding
of how founding team personality composition influences new venture growth and
provide guidance to leading entrepreneurs looking to find team members. Three main
findings emerged from the current study. First, high level but low diversity of team
task-oriented personality was beneficial for new venture founding teams. Second,
diversity of team task-oriented personality would hurt the new venture growth more
when the level of task-oriented personality was low. Third, relationship-oriented
personality diversity, but not the level of relationship-oriented personality, influenced
new venture growth.
Task-relationship dichotomy of founding team personality composition
Research on diversity has paid little attention to personality differences among team
members in work settings, especially in entrepreneurial teams. In the entrepreneurship
literature, many studies, adopting upper echelons theory, have looked into the potential
effects of top management team demographic diversity, such as age, gender, race,
tenure, and functional experience diversity, but ignored the effect of team personality
diversity. The recent literature review (Zhou and Rosini, 2015) uncovered the need for
empirical studies that explore the relationship between personality diversity and
entrepreneurial team performance. This study contributes to the entrepreneurship
literature by addressing this research gap.
Moreover, this study goes beyond the general Big Five personality dimensions by
including in the analysis the task-oriented and relationship-oriented personality
dichotomy. This is a unique contribution of the current study, because it is consistent
with the notion that in the study of team personality composition researchers should ask
the question of whether the trait is matched to the task or not Rauch and Frese’s (2007).
While findings of the current study indicated that the influence of team task-oriented
personality diversity on the new venture growth would be moderated by the level of
task-oriented personality, such moderation effect was not found for relationship-oriented
β
Openness mean 0.26**
Openness diversity −0.16*
Openness mean × diversity −0.18*
Conscientiousness mean 0.16*
Conscientiousness diversity ns
Conscientiousness mean × diversity ns
Extraversion mean 0.19*
Extraversion diversity ns
Extraversion mean × diversity ns
Agreeableness mean ns
Agreeableness diversity 0.31**
Agreeableness mean × diversity −0.22*
Emotional stability mean 0.16*
Emotional stability diversity 0.22*
Emotional stability mean × diversity ns
Notes: n¼144 teams. ns, not significant. β, standardized regression coefficient. *po0.05; **po0.01
Table IV.
Big five personality
composition and
employment growth
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personality composition. One possible explanation might be that task-oriented
personality composition is more related to team outcome (e.g. new venture growth).
However, relationship-oriented personality composition is more likely to influence team
process. This is consistent with Prewett et al. (2009) that team personality composition is
more like to influence team processes rather than team outcomes.
Aggregation method for team personality composition
Team personality composition research has to answer two methodological questions.
The first one is what variables to use to describe team personality composition.
In describing team composition two aspects could be considered: team mean and team
diversity on a particular personality trait. While studies have been investigating the
impact of team mean and/or diversity of a personality trait on team performance,
empirical studies exploring the interaction between team mean and diversity remain
limited. The current study contributes to the literature by filling this research gap.
Findings of this study indicated that diversity of team task-oriented personality would
hurt the new venture growth more when the level of task-oriented personality was low.
These findings confirmed the notion that the compatibility of the members in an
entrepreneurial team is a function of both similar and diverse traits (Hackman, 1987;
Moreland and Levine, 1992). That is, while certain personality traits may enhance team
performance when the team diversity is low, other traits may benefit team performance
when team diversity is high.
Team composition research usually aggregates team member individual personality
scores to form team-level constructs that relate to team process or outcome variables
(Kozlowski and Klein, 2000). The second methodological question is which aggregation
method should be used to form a team diversity score for a particular personality trait.
Harrison and Klein (2007) described three distinctive types of diversity: separation,
variety, and disparity. The current study defined diversity as a separation because the
study met the key assumptions provided by Harrison and Klein (2007).
Managerial implications
The findings of the current study offer important and valuable implications for policy
makers and entrepreneurs. First, this study provides policy implications for
institutions that provide support for start-ups in incubators. While the policy and
financial support from the supporting institutions is important for new start-ups, it is
also critical for these institutions to know the importance of new venture team
composition and team process to start-up performance and provide support in team
development. Second, for entrepreneurs who plan to start a business with a team, one
practical and important question the leading entrepreneur must answer is who he/she
wants to select as partners. Findings of the study provide entrepreneurs with
implications regarding team member selection. Specifically, this study suggests that
when building new venture founding teams, the leading entrepreneurs should take into
account the personalities of future team members and ensure that the team has an
adequate blend of relationship-oriented personalities, such as agreeableness,
extraversion, and emotional stability while minimizing the personality difference on
openness to experience and contentiousness.
Future research directions
Several limitations should be considered in interpreting findings of the current study.
The sample of the current study was a university incubator and not random. However,
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there is no reason to believe that the results of the study will not generalize to other
Chinese university incubators. The new venture founding teams in the sample were
characterized by a limited partnership structure, in which certain limited partners
relinquish their ability to manage the business in exchange for limited liability for
the partnership’s debts. Furthermore, since only new start-ups were considered in the
current study, it was limited in the extent to which the findings could be generalized to
later stages of new ventures. Therefore, it might be useful to examine the relationships
between team diversity and entrepreneurial team performance longitudinally across
various stages in the entrepreneurship life cycle.
The study’s findings suggest several future directions for new venture founding team
research. One future research direction is to do refined studies on the relationship
between team personality mean and personality diversity. For example, some questions
remain unanswered. Would task-oriented and relationship-oriented personality
composition have an interaction effect on new venture growth? Would team
personality diversity have a curvilinear rather than linear relationship with new
venture growth? Second, longitudinal studies on new venture founding team personality
composition are desired because research showed the effects of diversity based on
attitude and personality increase with time (Harrison et al., 1998). Moreover, future
research ought to include other performance measures (e.g. innovation, profitability, and
revenue) that are applicable to different stages of venture development. Another direction
for future research is the adoption of a configuration approach or pattern-oriented
approach to the team personality – performance relationship investigation.Moreover, the
current study used a variable approach – assessing the isolating personality traits’
impact on entrepreneurial team performance. It may overlook the possibility that the Big
Five personality traits together affect entrepreneurial behavior.
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Corresponding author
Dr Wencang Zhou can be contacted at: zhouw@mail.montclair.edu
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