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New ventures: how team motivation affects financial outcomes

Jonas Debrulle (IESEG School of Management, Lille, France and Faculty of Economics and Business, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)
Johan Maes (IESEG School of Management, Lille, France and Faculty of Economics and Business, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)
Elliroma Gardiner (School of Management, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia and IESEG School of Management, Lille, France)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Article publication date: 12 August 2020

Issue publication date: 1 December 2021




The purpose of this paper is to contribute to understanding the impact of entrepreneurial team composition on new venture performance. Different types of entrepreneurship motivation among founding team members are defined. Using a relatively recent theory as a framework (i.e. self-determination theory), the authors group these motives into two categories: autonomous and controlled motivation. The business impact of the level of each type of motivation within the team, as well as the impact of having team members with different motivational drivers, is examined. New venture performance is modelled in two different ways: financial performance (i.e. return on assets) and innovation performance.


The analyses are based on 66 founding teams active in diverse activity sectors. The teams represent a total of 142 business founders. Data was collected through structured interviews, a company questionnaire and a secondary data source (i.e. certified financial statements).


The results confirm that the level of autonomous motivation within the team contributes to start-up financial performance, whereas the level of controlled motivation hampers innovation performance. No direct effects of diversity of team member motivation on start-up performance were discovered.


This is one of the first papers to study multiple firm performance effects of the composition of entrepreneurial founding teams in terms of motivation.



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Policy Research Centre for Entrepreneurship and International Entrepreneurship of the Flemish Government. This support was limited to funding and did not imply any intervention in the study design, data collection and analyses.


Debrulle, J., Maes, J. and Gardiner, E. (2021), "New ventures: how team motivation affects financial outcomes", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 42 No. 6, pp. 367-373.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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