The Role of the Top Management Team in Early-Stage High-Tech Ventures - A Quantitative Study of the Impact of Network Capabilities and Behavioral Integration on Top Management Team's Effectiveness
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This master thesis addresses the under-studied area of the top management team (TMT) in early-stage high-tech ventures. High-tech ventures are receiving growing attention globally following the rise in globalization, disruptive innovations and increased commercialization activities at universities and research institutions. TMTs are crucial for the improvement of organizational performance and profitability. TMT-effectiveness is influenced by multiple factors, chief amongst them behavioral integration and network capabilities. There are various studies and theories on TMT-effectiveness and behavior, including those focused on the resource-based view, upper echelon theory and demographic factors in the TMT. This thesis endeavors to fill the existing gaps on the interrelationship between network capabilities, behavioral integration and TMT-effectiveness, by focusing on their impact on organizational performance in early-stage high-tech ventures. Through a quantitative research method, 73 high-tech ventures were analyzed in the high-tech industry in Norway and Sweden by reviewing key determinants of TMT-effectiveness. These countries were chosen to study TMTs in emerging versus established sectors, as Sweden is one of the primary hubs for technological innovation in the Nordic countries, while Norway aims to increase innovation after its oil export-based economy was affected by the recent slump in oil prices. Five hypotheses were tested using primary data to examine the impact of network capabilities and behavioral integration (both separately and combined) on TMT-effectiveness in early stage high-tech ventures. As a result of this study, three hypotheses were supported and important findings were revealed: (1) Increased external network capabilities in the TMT leads to increased TMT-effectiveness, (2) Increased behavioral integration in the TMT leads to increased TMT-effectiveness, and (3) Behavioral integration in the TMT has a strengthening and positive impact on the internal network capabilities-TMT-effectiveness relationship. The remaining two hypotheses were found to be inconclusive; internal network capabilities had an insignificant direct impact on TMT-effectiveness, and behavioral integration had an insignificant effect on the external network capabilities-TMT-effectiveness relationship.