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New Venture Team Personality and New Venture Success Open Access

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Despite significant research on the role of new venture team member characteristics on new venture success, results have been mixed and difficult to interpret. A primary reason for the mixed results is the use of demographic characteristics as proxies for underlying human capital (Klotz, Hmieleski, Bradley, & Busenitz, 2014; Nyberg, Moliterno, Hale, & Lepak, 2014; Ployhart & Moliterno, 201). Using upper echelons theory and human capital research as a theoretical framework, this study tested the role of both demographic characteristics as well as psychological characteristics, which are important yet rarely tested human capital characteristics, in predicting in new venture performance (Colbert, Barrick, & Bradley, 2014; Klotz, Hmieleski, Bradley, & Busenitz, 2014; Oh, Kim, & Van Iddekinge, 2014; Wang, Holmes, Oh, & Zhu, 2016). Compared to demographic characteristics, psychological characteristics are important because they represent direct measures of the underlying human capital. Moreover, by including psychological characteristics, this study examines whether the psychological characteristics that have been related to new venture performance at the individual entrepreneur level, are beneficial at the team level, and whether psychology-based human capital resources predict unique variance in new venture performance beyond demographic characteristics. The sample of new venture teams comes from Kuwait, a Middle Eastern country. Institutional factors (e.g., high bureaucracy, high regulation), transaction costs (e.g., lack of public data, political instability), resource scarcity (e.g., lack of talented human capital) societal factors (e.g., norms and cultural values, a socialist economy) suggest that both company strategies and growth as well as individual entrepreneurs’ characteristics in this region may be different from other contexts (Barkema, Chen, George, Luo, Tsui, 2015; Hoskisson, Eden, Lau, Wright, 2000; Wright, Filatotchev, Hoskisson, & Peng, 2005). In particular, findings from entrepreneurship studies in the United States and Europe may not apply in this context. Due to relative lack of research on entrepreneurs conducted in the Arab region (Bruton, Ahlstrom, & Obloj, 2008), and the environmental constraints affecting the ability to collect primary data from entrepreneurs (e.g., laws restricting the sharing of information) this study is considered a first step towards a better understanding of what makes new venture teams succeed in an underdeveloped and oil-rich Arab country. The findings show that new venture team members’ mean proactive personality trait is positively related to new venture average annual employment growth, while diversity in educational specialization had a negative relationship. The findings are in line with prior research, but have particular importance for new venture teams in Kuwait, including the importance of selecting members high on proactiveness to overcome institutional efficiencies, and the importance for members to be open to different perspectives, if they are to benefit from diversity in educational backgrounds

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