Imprinting through inheritance: A multi-genealogical study of entrepreneurial proclivity

S. Ellis, B. Aharonson, I. Drori, Z. Shapira

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

We offer an organizational lineage inheritance theoretical framework for understanding the longevity of imprinting effects of two consecutive eras with distinct environmental conditions, values, and norms. Adopting a genealogical approach, we find that erabased imprinting is contingent on lineage-based transmissions. Era-based initial conditions strongly influence the entrepreneurial proclivity of the first generation of firms but have no influence on subsequent generations, and each generation is influenced by the entrepreneurial proclivity of the former. We show two mediation effects and one moderation effect, supporting our theoretical argument that the longevity of imprinting effects is due to heredity processes. First, the effect of era-based initial conditions on the entrepreneurial proclivity of the second generation is mediated by the entrepreneurial proclivity of the first generation. The effect of the entrepreneurial proclivity of the first generation on the third-generation's entrepreneurial proclivity is mediated by the entrepreneurial proclivity of the second generation. Second, a mismatch between the mental models of the knowledge-transmitting agents (the founders) and the knowledgereceiving agents (organization members - prospective entrepreneurs) moderates the effect of the entrepreneurial proclivity of one generation on the entrepreneurial proclivity of the next.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)500-522
Number of pages23
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Volume60
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

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