First Advisor

Lewis N. Goslin

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Systems Science


Systems Science




High technology industries, New business enterprises



Physical Description

4, ix, 177 leaves 28 cm.


A sample of two hundred and twenty-five high technology start-up firms located nationwide provided a base for the analysis of characteristics of start-up success. The analysis provides insights into management capabilities which may be generalized to a larger population. For comparison purposes, the sample was divided into two groups: (1) those firms which have not received a venture capital infusion from a formal venture capital company and (2) those firms which have received one or more infusions of venture capital. Aspects of organizational climate, top management team approach, marketing strategy and focus, business planning and the intent to go public as a means of addressing future financing needs were examined. Hypothesis testing was accomplished through the employment of ANOVA and Chi-Square. Based upon the results of the testing of each of the hypotheses, the following conclusions are drawn: 1. Based upon those aspects examined, both the funded and unfunded firms embrace practices which strongly manifest those of an organic organization. The strong propensities toward both open communication channels and participatory decision making are indicative of the lack of formal structure present in these organizations. In addition, creativity is strongly supported, as it should be, by the notion that failure is viewed in a positive context as a necessary component of both being creative and making technological advancements. 2. The team approach to management is practiced by both funded and unfunded firms; although the venture capital funded firms have a higher quality top management team when quality is defined by aggregate primary past functional experience. The funded firm has a larger team which, in turn, brings more years of experience, a higher aggregate level of organizational responsibility, and more diversity of functional capability. This diversity provides balance in terms of complementary functional skills. Additional strength is added to the top management team of the funded firms due to a higher percentage of members whose prior experience is directly related to the functional capacity in which they now serve. Similarly, the funded firm is more likely to have management team members whose previous experience was in a firm whose core technology was the same or very similar to that of the start-up. 3. There do not appear to be significant differences between the venture capital funded and unfunded firms regarding the various marketing oriented characteristics. Both groups tend to be market driven with a solutions orientation. 4. The high technology start-up firm which has received venture capital funding is more likely to go public than the unfunded firm. 5. Business planning is practiced by the majority of all high technology start-up firms, although the funded firms do so to a greater extent. Not only do virtually all funded firms prepare business plans, but the plans themselves appear to be more extensive. Additionally; the primary purpose for which the funded firm prepares the plan is for venture capital acquisition. On the other hand, the unfunded firms perform business plan preparation to a lesser extent, but do so because of operating necessity. The results of this study have implications for the nascent entrepreneur in the high technology arena and researchers alike toward the end of providing a more complete understanding of some of the critical components essential to the success of a start-up.


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