Swimming with Sharks

In: Business and Management

Submitted By brettnovek
Words 19239
Pages 77
Swimming with Sharks:
Technology Ventures,
Defense Mechanisms and Corporate
Relationships
Riitta Katila
Stanford University

Jeff D. Rosenberger
Nomis Solutions

Kathleen M.
Eisenhardt
Stanford University

This paper focuses on the tension that firms face between the need for resources from partners and the potentially damaging misappropriation of their own resources by corporate “sharks.” Taking an entrepreneurial lens, we study this tension at tie formation in corporate investment relationships in five U.S. technology-based industries over a 25-year period. Central to our study is the
“sharks” dilemma: when do entrepreneurs choose partners with high potential for misappropriation over less risky partners? Our findings show that entrepreneurs take the risk when they need resources that established firms uniquely provide (i.e., financial and manufacturing) and when they have effective defense mechanisms to protect their own resources (i.e., secrecy and timing). Overall, the findings show that tie formation is a negotiation that depends on resource needs, defense mechanisms, and alternative partners. These findings contribute to the recent renaissance of resource dependence theory and to the discussion on the surprising power of entrepreneurial firms in resource mobilization.•
A central question in organization and strategy research is how firms gain resources (Penrose, 1959; Thompson, 1967).
In response, researchers have identified several approaches, including the acquisition of other firms (Ahuja and Katila,
2001) and organic development (Katila and Chen, 2008). But because acquisitions can be too expensive or unavailable
(Graebner and Eisenhardt, 2004), and organic development can be too slow (Eisenhardt and Tabrizi, 1995), interorganizational relationships have become an attractive way to obtain resources, especially for…...

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