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Resilience in Entrepreneurial Teams: Developing the Capacity to Pull Through


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Resilience, or the capacity to rebound from adversity strengthened and more resourceful, is an important quality for entrepreneurial teams, yet we know little about how entrepreneurial teams can foster resilience. I develop and test hypotheses about the antecedents and mechanisms for resilience in entrepreneurial teams. I argue that communal schemas in entrepreneurial teams, which entail caring for team members' needs, foster resilience through the mechanisms of trust and creativity. Moreover, I hypothesize that contracting practices that make expectations explicit and activities transparent facilitate resilience through the mechanisms of role clarity and accountability. The hypotheses are tested in a survey of 122 entrepreneurial teams. Results support the proposed framework.
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Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research
|Issue 11Volume 29
Ruth Blatt
University of Illinois in Chicago, USA,
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Ruth Blatt, University of Illinois in Chicago, USA
Resilience, or the capacity to rebound from adversity strengthened and more resourceful, is an
important quality for entrepreneurial teams, yet we know little about how entrepreneurial teams
can foster resilience. I develop and test hypotheses about the antecedents and mechanisms for
resilience in entrepreneurial teams. I argue that communal schemas in entrepreneurial teams,
which entail caring for team members needs, foster resilience through the mechanisms of trust
and creativity. Moreover, I hypothesize that contracting practices that make expectations explicit
and activities transparent facilitate resilience through the mechanisms of role clarity and
accountability. The hypotheses are tested in a survey of 122 entrepreneurial teams. Results support
the proposed framework.
Most new ventures are started by entrepreneurial teams (Ruef et al., 2003). Resilience, or the
capacity to rebound from adversity strengthened and more resourceful (Sutcliffe & Vogus, 2003),
is an important quality for entrepreneurial teams. The need to maintain positive adjustment under
challenging conditions comes from the near certainty that they will face road blocks, failures, and
disappointments. Promises of funding fall through, technological launches fail, competitors reach
the market first, or progress takes more time and money than anticipated. These contingenvcies are
even more likely to happen in today’s vulnerable economy. Entrepreneurial teams have no slack
resources and experience these near-disasters as stressful. In fact, resilience has been argued to be
an appropriate measure of entrepreneurial performance in the early stages of a venture, when hard
financial indicators are not available or appropriate (Cooper, 1991; Markman et al., 2005). This
paper aims to contribute to our understanding of how entrepreneurial teams can develop this
important capacity.
Several unique features of the entrepreneurial context render team resilience particularly
important and challenging. First, compared to other work teams, they face significant uncertainty,
ambiguity, and novelty. In a novel situation, individuals’ existing schemas, or mental templates
representing organized knowledge about particular domains (S. T. Fiske & Taylor, 1991), do not
fit their present circumstances. As a result, individuals feel disoriented, as they are unable to
define their situation or to establish meaningful relational or causal links between events (Weick,
1979). In entrepreneurship, this novelty has been associated with the liability of newness, or the
heightened risk for failure faced by young firms on account of their lack of existing roles and
working relationships (Stinchcombe, 1965). Entrepreneurs facing novelty are unclear about what
is happening and why and must choose among multiple interpretations for unclear data. They may
not know where to look for answers to their most pressing problems or even what questions to ask
in order to move their efforts forward (Amason, Shrader, & Tompson, 2006). As a result, any
given setback is particularly difficult to recover from.
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Second, the experience of founding a new company is highly emotional, which can make it
challenging for teams to be resilient in responding to adversity. The ongoing uncertainty of
entrepreneurship can spur frustration, stress, and anxiety, as well as excitement (Wilson,
Centerbar, Gilbert, & Kermer, 2005). Entrepreneurship is emotionally intense because it entails
dealing with unexpected and surprising events (Mandler, 1984). Positive emotions, such as pride
and hope, can make entrepreneurs feel energized, enthusiastic, strong, and connected (Goss,
2005). But negative emotions also abound, as team members run into road blocks, failures, and
disappointments. The dread and frustration that can result from such near-disasters often erode
entrepreneurs’ perception that they can cope with their situation, and thereby their resilience
(Rindova & Petkova, 2007).
A third obstacle to resilience in entrepreneurial teams comes from the tendency in novel
situations to regress to over-learned responses and role-based behavior, even if these are not
appropriate in the current circumstances, resulting in behavior that is less flexible and more
schema-driven (Snook, 2000). Yet resilient responses to entrepreneurial challenges require
creative adaptation to challenges faced (Weick, 1993).
Finally, resilience is made difficult by the of lack roles, routines, and established patterns of
behavior to guide entrepreneurial behavior (Stinchcombe, 1965). Without a social structure in
place, adaptation to changing circumstances becomes particularly challenging. Team members
may pursue alternative and even conflicting courses of action that undermine a fast, coordinated,
and creative response to unexpected challenges.
Most studies of resilience have been conducted at the individual level (Masten & Reed, 2002).
Group researchers have not directly investigated resilience per se. However, theorists have
inferred that accumulated knowledge and variety in group composition increase resources and
efficacy (Sutcliffe & Vogus, 2003). Yet these theorists do not take into account relational issues or
unique context of novelty in entrepreneurship.
Studies of resilience in situations of novelty and uncertainty other than entrepreneurship, such
as in response to unexpected disasters, suggest that resilience hinges on the team’s ability to be
creative in making use of their (limited) resources to overcome the challenges they face in new
and useful ways (Weick, 1993). This research suggests that heterogeneity in team composition
would increase resilience, as it increases the team’s repertoire of possible actions for dealing with
adversity (Sutcliffe & Vogus, 2003). Yet there is limited empirical evidence supporting the impact
of team heterogeneity on creativity and resilience. In fact, heterogeneity can have negative
implications for teams. Although it can increase the quality and quantity of perspectives and
viewpoints on the team, it can also erode its relational fabric, as people generally get along better
with people who are like them (van Knippenberg & Schippers, 2007). It remains unclear how
entrepreneurial teams can foster creativity in light of their unique relational and task challenges.
Organizational consultants writing about resilience have suggested that the quality of
relationships matters for organizational resilience. Drawing on case studies and research on the
role of social support in individual resilience, they argued for the importance of caring
relationships for group and organizational resilience (e.g., Wilson & Ferch, 2005). Likewise case
studies of organizations responding to the terrorists attacks of September 1, 2001 also support the
importance of “relational reserves” in maintaining positive adjustment following a crisis (e.g.,
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Gittell et al., 2006). Yet no systematic research has been conducted on the role of caring
relationships in entrepreneurial resilience.
Another set of ideas from the study of organizing in the face of crisis suggests that certain form
of structure facilitate resilience (Weick 1993). Structure stabilizes meaning by creating shared
interpretive schemes. Structure also sets a framework of roles, rules, procedures, configured
activities and authority relations. Case studies following the terrorists attacks of September 1,
2001 also support the importance of “generative structures of resourcefulness,” or plans that are
flexible enough to improvise around (Beunza and Stark, 2003). Yet entrepreneurial teams are
defined by their lack of structure (Stinchcombe, 1965), and it is unclear which kind of structures
can facilitate resilience in entrepreneurial teams.
Below I draw on research from social psychology and inter-organizational contracting to
develop hypotheses for how communal schemas and contracting practices facilitate resilience in
entrepreneurial teams.
Research on interpersonal relationships suggests that people apply specific relational schemas
toward others and that these schemas influence the nature and development of relationships (Reis,
Collins, & Berscheid, 2000). Relational schemas represent the type of relationship people desire
from others that influence how they interpret experiences and make decisions in their
relationships. They include a self-schema (how the person defines his or her self in the
relationship), a parallel schema for the partner, and a script governing how the two parties are
expected to interact (Baldwin, 1992). Relational schemas are important in understanding
relationships because they shape expectations, thereby shaping each person’s own behavior as
well as partners’ behavior and the nature of interactions. Because of the self-fulfilling nature of
expectations in personal relationships, relational schemas are often mutual (Reis et al., 2000).
Relational schemas govern how benefits and resources are allocated among relationship
partners (Clark & Mills, 1979; A. P. Fiske, 1992). For example, in the “equality matching
schema,” benefit allocation is governed by egalitarianism and balance. In the “authority ranking
schema,” benefits are allocated according to precedence, hierarchy, and status. In the “market
pricing schema,” proportionality determines allocation according to a common scale of ratio
values (such as money). And in the “communal schema,” giving is based on perceived need and is
done to express a person’s commitment to the relationship (Clark & Mills, 1979; A. P. Fiske,
Which relational schema should team members adopt? Interdependence theory holds that the
nature of interdependence in a relationship determines which kind of relational schema is most
adaptive (Kelley et al., 2003). Entrepreneurial teams are characterized by a high degree of
interdependence, uncertainty, shared interests, and expectations of working together over an
extended period of time. They work best when members make significant investments of time,
energy, and expertise in the relationship. Such relational situations generate high concern for
relationship maintenance (Kelley et al., 2003). Also, because dependence often entails
vulnerability, these situations may inspire motivated forms of cognition such as positive illusions
and downward social comparison. Specifically, interdependence theory predicts that in these
situations people are likely to apply a communal relational schema. As Kelley et al. (2003: 380)
write, “People should be driven to develop communal sharing rules in domain of their
environment in which they are subject to the whims of fate.” Anecdotal accounts of
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entrepreneurial teams suggest that in practice, entrepreneurs are aware of the existence of
communal relations on the team. As Kaplan (1994: 19) notes of his experience co-founding a
technology company, “Forming a new company is like starting a romantic relationship.”
In communal relationships benefits are given to fulfill the other person’s needs or to express
concern. As Blau (1964: 6) writes, individuals in communal relationships “do favors for one
another not in the expectation of receiving explicit repayments but to express their commitment to
the interpersonal relation and sustain it by encouraging an increasing commitment on the part of
the other.” Communal schemas are engendered by a sense of belonging and mattering and by a
commitment to being together through good times and bad, regardless the relationship’s history
(McMillan & Chavis, 1986). Thus, people can become communal even toward relative strangers.
Communal Schemas and Resilience
Communal schemas on the team are hypothesized to increase resilience through their effect on
trust and creativity. With respect to trust, social cognition research suggests that thinking
communally about another person means caring about his or her needs. Thus individuals with a
communal schema are likely to be other-interested, rather than strictly self-interested. They tend to
pay attention to others’ needs (Clark, Mills, & Corcoran, 1989), help others address those needs
(Clark, Ouellette, Powell, & Milberg, 1987), and feel fulfilled when supporting others
(Williamson & Clark, 1989). These forms of social support lead others to perceive them as
trustworthy (Whitener, Brodt, Korsgaard, & Werner, 1998). This trust enables taking risks in
coping with adversity. Trust increases entrepreneurs’ propensity to share information, which
means that the team can mobilize its resources, such as time, effort, attention, and knowledge,
more effectively in the face of adversity (McEvily, Perrone, & Zaheer, 2003). Trust also increases
the likelihood that entrepreneurs respond favorably to each others’ actions, reducing detrimental
emotional conflict on the team (Dirks & Ferrin, 2001; Ensley, Pearson, & Amason, 2002).
Communal schemas are also hypothesized to increase resilience through their effect on
creativity. Communal schemas increase positive affect on the team (Francis & Sandberg, 2000).
This positive affect in the group, in turn, increases the group’s creativity by broadening cognition
and increasing the group’s repertoire of ideas and possibilities (Amabile, Barsade, Mueller, &
Staw, 2005; Fredrickson, 1998). Communal schemas also lead people to be more cohesive,
thereby promoting constructive conflict and the consideration of multiple viewpoints, which also
enhances creativity (Ensley et al., 2002).
Insights on the benefits of contracting practices in relationships come from research on inter-
organizational alliances (e.g., Carson, Madhok, & Wu, 2006; Vlaar, Van den Bosch, & Volberda,
2006). Like entrepreneurial teams, they represent relationships that are neither hierarchy (i.e., the
two firms are distinct entities rather than a single organization) nor market (i.e., the interaction
between them is embedded rather than arm’s length). Moreover, they share with entrepreneurial
teams high mutual and joint interdependence, as well as uncertainty.
Contracting is a behavioral practice that entails codifying and enforcing inputs, outputs, and
behaviors, thereby producing a testament of the process. The testament can be either written or
verbal; what matters is that there is explicitness and transparency about expectations from the
other party (see also Vlaar et al., 2006). Contracting practices provide direction for people about
what they need to do, thereby replacing an organizationally-given structure (Sine, Mitsuhashi, &
Kirsch, 2006). The power of contracting practices is not necessarily their legal enforceability,
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because most are actually too incomplete to constitute legal safeguards. Thus contracts are not
inherently obliging. Rather, contracting practices are a dynamic mechanism for clarifying and
elaborating objectives and responsibilities (Carson et al., 2006). They stimulate conversations that
create shared meaning where there is none by focusing partner’s attention on the same issues,
forcing articulation of opinions, and instigating and maintaining interaction about how the
company should be run (Vlaar et al., 2006). Contracting also creates rules or guidelines for action.
Although these rules are dynamic and continuously modified, at any given moment they serve as
templates for planning and accomplishing tasks (Desanctis & Poole, 1994).
Most entrepreneurial teams engage in some form of contracting when defining the ownership
of the firm. In contrast to these a priori contracts, contracting practices are embedded in the day-
to-day life of the team. For example, at the end of their weekly meetings, a team can put into
writing what each person had agreed to do, along with a target date to do it by, thereby making
explicit their goals and commitments and plans for achieving them, rather than agreeing in more
general terms (or not conducting weekly meetings at all). These examples correspond to the task
description aspect of contracting (Argyres, Bercovitz, & Mayer, 2007). A second practice of
contracting, contingency planning, entails conversations about how partners will deal with
problematic contingencies that might arise, such as changes in technology, competitor’s actions,
and unexpected delays (Argyres et al., 2007). Viewed from a practice perspective, contracting is
an ongoing and adaptive activity. Practices are repeatedly performed knowledgeable situated
activities (Orlikowski 2002; Jarzabkowski 2004). According to a practice lens, because
contracting practices are knowledgeable and situated, entrepreneurs engage in them in adaptive
and inventive ways to accomplish various ends (Orlikowski, 2000).
I hypothesize that contracting practices will also increase resilience in entrepreneurial teams
through their effect on trust and creativity. Contracting practices will increase trust through
increased belief by team members that others will do as expected (Rousseau et al., 1998).
Moreover, contracting entails extensive interaction and communication by team members about
the new ventures. The increased interpersonal knowledge that results from this contracting process
will lead team members to see one another as more predictable, thereby enhancing trust (Gabarro,
Contracting practices increase creativity by providing a “minimal structure”, a set of
consensual guidelines and agreements that focus the activities of people around a common set of
goals without limiting their discretion to best decide how to reach these goals (Kamoche & Cunha,
2001). Contracting practices increase clarity about how to manage the new venture and agreement
about it between entrepreneurial team members. They serve as substitutes for precedent, providing
clarity where there is none and protecting the team from detrimental mistakes and misalignments.
This minimal structure gives people a sense of who to follow and how to act even in the face in
the unknown (Weick, 1993). As Brown and Eisenhardt argue, “limited structure provides the
overarching framework without which there are too many degrees of freedom.” (1997: 16).
In sum, I hypothesize that communal schemas and contracting practices will increase resilience
in entrepreneurial team, and that these effects will be mediated by trust and creativity.
The proposed framework was tested in a mail survey of 122 young knowledge-based new
ventures founded by teams.
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Two sources provided the population for this study: the VentureXpert database and The first was a subset of firms listed by the VentureXpert database.
VentureXpert is a comprehensive database of venture capital (VC) funded new ventures. The
VentureXpert database is provided by Thomson Venture Economics and has been used
extensively in earlier entrepreneurship research (e.g., Guler, 2007). The database enables
searching by industry and lists contact information for executives, year of founding, industry, and
amount of money invested in the startup. To generate the population for the survey, I created a
database of VC-funded companies listed in VentureXpert that met the following criteria (1) they
were U.S.-based, (2) they operated in high-technology industries (codes 1000 (information
technology) and 4000 (medical/health/life sciences), (3) were in the seed or startup investment
stage (i.e., funding to develop the idea, conduct market and feasibility research, and start the
business), and (4) were founded in 2004 or later. I use a three-year cutoff to ensure that the
companies were indeed early in their development. Of the 1044 companies that met these criteria,
contact information was available for 720.
The second source was, a website listing information about Silicon Valley
startups. From this source I obtained contact information for an additional 130 companies that met
the above criteria. Thus the mailing included 850 companies. However, 210 companies were
excluded from the sample because (1) the address was wrong and the surveys were returned, (2)
the contact person was no longer there or did not receive the survey, or (3) the company did not
meet the selection criteria. Thus the final set of companies contacted was 610.
Survey Design and Administration
Mail surveys are the most common form of data collection in entrepreneurship and small
business research (Bartholomew & Smith, 2006). The survey used in this study was designed to
assess the constructs of interest using multiple-item seven-point Likert-like scales, to be clear and
concise, and to group similar items together to aid in comprehension. I also provided identifying
labels for each set of items to direct the respondents’ thinking about the items. Whenever possible,
I used or modified existing scales that have been validated in previous literature (see description of
measures below). I pretested the survey with an entrepreneur, a venture capitalist, and two non-
entrepreneurs to ensure that the items are clear, the survey does not take too long (less than 20
minutes), and that the survey’s language fits the context.
I sent the survey to the contact person listed in these databases (usually the founder or Chief
Executive Officer). I employed several means to increase response rates, using Dillman’s (2000)
tailored design method. This method is based on creating respondent trust and perceptions of
increased rewards and reduced costs for being a respondent.
To assess resilience I modified the two “commitment to resilience” items from the “Safety
Organizing Survey” (Vogus & Sutcliffe, 2007). The items are (1) We talk about mistakes and
ways to learn from them (2) When unexpected challenges occur, we discuss how we could have
prevented them. In addition, I included modifications of the four items in the Brief Resilient
Coping Scale (Sinclair & Wallston, 2004): (3) We look for creative ways to alter difficult
situations, (4) Regardless of what happens to us, we can control our reaction to it, (5) We can
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grow in positive ways by dealing with difficult situations, (6) We actively look for ways to
overcome the challenges we encounter.
To assess contracting practices, I modified Argyres, Bercovitz, and Mayer’s (2007) measure
of contracts. Respondents indicated agreement with the following statements: (1) When we hold
meetings, we specify explicitly the list of tasks each of us will accomplish, (2) When we hold
meetings, we specify explicitly the criteria for task completion, (3) When we hold meetings, we
specify explicitly the schedule for task completion.
To assess the extent of communal schemas of team members toward each other, the survey
used the name-generator method, commonly used in network studies (Lin, 1999). Using initials,
each participant was asked to list up to four people, using initials, who are part of the
entrepreneurial team. I used the term “executive team” on the survey, following feedback from
pre-testing and defined it as those who hold an equity stake and are actively involved in strategic
decision making. After the list, the participant was asked to answer demographic questions about
each of the team members listed as well as to describe the extent of his or her communal
orientation toward that person. Communal schemas were assessed with a modification of the
communal strength measure used by Mills et al. (2004).
The level of communal schemas was computed as follows. First, I averaged the six communal
schema items as reported for each team member. Thus if a respondent had indicated that she had
three team members, I obtained three values representing her average communal schema level
toward each of the three team members. I then averaged the communal schemas value across all
team members about whom the respondent had reported. Thus in the example, I averaged the
communal schema level for the three team members to obtain a general communal schema score
for the respondent.
Trust among the team was assessed using Langfred’s (2004) measure of trust. To assess
creativity I used a version of Zhou and George’s (2001) creativity scale modified to the
entrepreneurial team context.
Reliability Analysis
I used several means to assess the reliability of the scales, including Crobach’s alpha, an
exploratory factor analysis, and a confirmatory factor analysis. Cronbach’s alpha assumes a
unidimensional factor structure. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was used to determine if this
assumption is valid or if, in fact, a multi-dimensional factor structure is more appropriate. Due to
sample size, it was impossible to conduct a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) that includes all of
the variables in the study. However, I used CFAs to assess discriminant validity, or the degree to
which items measuring different variables actually differ, by conducting pairwise tests of
theoretically related constructs to assess whether a model representing two factors fit the data
significantly better than a one-factor model. All of the constructs in the study exhibited high
I received responses from 155 firms, representing a 25% response rate, which is close to the
27% average response rate for surveys in entrepreneurship (Bartholomew & Smith, 2006). 122 of
the returned surveys met the selection criteria for the study and were used in the analysis.
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The hypotheses were tested through a structural equation model using parceled variables. In
this analysis, I collapsed indicators by averaging such that the model contained only two indicators
per construct, which enables the model to converge, despite the small sample size, by reducing the
number of parameters. According to Bagozzi and Edwards (1998), a structural equation model
with parceled variables is appropriate in situations where constructs have high reliability, high
correlations between the items that are averaged, and the averaged items load on a single factor.
The exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses supported the validity of this approach.
Figure 1 presents the standardized coefficients (betas) for the proposed model. To determine
the overall fit of the model, I used several goodness-of-fit indices: the chi-square test, the Mean
Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA), the non-normed fit index (NNFI), the comparative fit
index (CFI), and the Standardized root mean square residual (SRMR). While there are no hard-
fast rules for assessing goodness of fit, scholars generally agree that a non-significant chi-square,
RMSEA at .05 or lower, NNFI and CFI at .95 or higher, and an SRMR of .08 or lower indicate a
good fit (Hu & Bentler, 1999). For the hypothesized model, the chi-square (df=29, n=122) is
69.394 (p<.001), the RMSEA is .107, the NNFI is .950, the CFI is .968, and the SRMR is .094.
These findings indicate a poor fit for the proposed theoretical model.
Figure 2 presents a revised model in which creativity is the only moderation. For this revised
model, the chi-square (df=16, n=122) is 24.75 (n.s.), the RMSEA is .067, the NNFI is .980, the
CFI is .991, and the SRMR is .047. These findings suggest a good fit for the revised model.
The findings of this survey of entrepreneurial teams support the proposition that communal
schemas and contracting practices facilitate resilience in entrepreneurial teams. The findings about
communal schemas challenge prevalent portrayals of successful entrepreneurs that imply that they
are individualistic and self-interested (e.g., McGrath et al., 1992). In contrast, I find that members
of resilient entrepreneurial teams care about one another and value relationships for their own sake
rather than only as a means to reach desired goals. The findings about contracting practices
highlight the importance of dynamic contracting in highly uncertain situations.
The finding that the combination of the apparently paradoxical mechanisms of communal
schemas and contracting practices positively impacts team resilience in new ventures challenges
the prevalent dichotomy between the communal and economic/legalistic realms. It suggests that in
highly uncertain and complex situations, such as entrepreneurial teams, both mechanisms are
beneficial. This “both/and” perspective adds to existing literature on the benefits of paradox in
managing complex situations. Paradox means the simultaneous presence of contradictory elements
(Quinn & Cameron, 1988). When entrepreneurs are able to accommodate apparent opposites, they
can benefit from paradoxical thinking. In established organizations, paradoxical thinking has been
shown to enable people to “reframe their assumptions, learn from existing tensions, and develop a
more complicated repertoire of understandings and behaviors that better reflects organizational
intricacies (Lewis, 2000: 764).”
Resilience in the face of setbacks in new ventures appears to benefit from an approach that
combines elements from the apparently disparate communal and economic/legal realms.
Contracting practices may serve as a platform upon which entrepreneurs can leverage the benefits
of communal schemas, and vice versa. Apparent opposites can be mutually reinforcing (Clegg,
Vieira, & Cunha, 2002). Thus when enacted with communal schemas, contracting practices mean
that entrepreneurs acknowledge the complexity of their situations. When communal schemas are
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enacted with contracting practices, this means that team members’ caring is not “blind”.
Contracting is a practice that enables communal partners to hold “difficult” or “uncomfortable”
discussions (Vlaar et al., 2006). As a result, their relationship is of a higher quality, as it is more
robust to various contingencies, can support discussions of a broader range of issues, and is thus
resilient in the face of setbacks (Dutton & Heaphy, 2003).
This study also shed light on the mechanism through which communal schemas and
contracting practices affect resilience. Specifically, creativity appears to be a key mechanism
through which communal schemas and contracting practices have their positive effects on
resilience. Surprisingly, including trust as a mediator did not improve the fit of the data to the
model, suggesting that trust, though important for teams, does not play a role in resilience. Future
research should explore other mediators of the relationship between contracting practices and
resilience in entrepreneurial teams.
Several limitations qualify the conclusions drawn from this study. First is the relatively small
sample and relatively low response rate. Although both the sample size and response rate are
typical for surveys of entrepreneurs (Bartholomew & Smith, 2006), they pose a problem for both
statistical power and generalization. Especially in a study of resilience, understanding the reasons
for non-response is important for the validity of the results.
A second limitation has to do with the operationalization of constructs. Although the
hypotheses were at the team level, data were provided by only one team member. This issue is
particularly problematic in the case of communal schemas. Future work should not only collect
data on communal schemas from all team members, but also explore different operationalizations
(average level of communal schemas, heterogeneity of communal schemas, lowest value, highest
values, etc.) to better our understanding of the effects of communal schemas on entrepreneurial
In sum, this study sheds significant explanatory light on the antecedents and mediators of
resilience in entrepreneurial teams. It finds that the creativity that enables teams to adapt
successfully in the face of unexpected setbacks can be created by adopting a communal approach
toward team members, characterized by genuine caring, and by enacting contracting practices that
increase explicitness and transparency in interactions about the day-to-day operation of the firm.
CONTACT: Ruth Blatt;; (T): 734-546-0503; (F): 312-996-3559; Department of
Managerial Studies, University of Illinois in Chicago, University Hall, 2215, 601 South Morgan
St., Chicago, IL 60607.
This research was supported by a grant from the The Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for
Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan.
Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research 2009
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Figure 1:
Note. * Significant at .05 level.
Schemas Trust
Practices Creativity
Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research 2009
Figure 2: Revised Structural Equation Model
Note. * Significant at .05 level.
Creativity Resilience
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... Teaching ethics in coordination with DEI-J also contributes to the professional preparatory aspects of engineering education. Companies increasingly recognize that well-managed diversity, equity, and inclusivity efforts are important for better outcomes in organizational productivity [24,45], resilience [12,30], and economic success [11,62,64]. Many companies now make attempts to address DEI-J issues in a variety of ways, including via their codes of ethics. ...
... As mentioned previously, the focus of these changes is not limited to academic environments, the impact is on educating the future workforce to revolutionize professional practice as well. As such, there has been an increase in the implementation of training and culture shifts in the engineering practice [12,45,86]. The professional code of ethics, as authored by the Biomedical Engineering Society also seeks to educate and promote ethics across the community [13]. ...
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The lack of diversity in engineering is a persistent problem with few signs of pending improvement. Efforts to promote diversity in engineering schools have produced modest gains. Based on a commitment to be a change leader and fueled by recent updates in ABET criteria to include diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEI-J) as tenets of engineering education, the biomedical engineering (BME) community needs to find new ways to address the issues of DEI for all groups in our curricula. In an attempt to redesign engineering departments to be more inclusive of all student populations, institutions of higher learning are reviewing programs, policies, and the ways they engage students. This paper provides BME programs with some thinking about the integration of DEI into areas of curriculum, assessment, faculty practice and faculty support, infrastructure, and climate for change. This study reports on curricular innovations attempted to date in order to serve as a resource for biomedical undergraduate engineering curricula. The authors have collected critical resources and literature related to integrating DEI into courses and content as well as assessment and evaluation approaches. Sections include resources for BME design, diverse anatomy and physiology, person-centered language, ethics, and assessment and evaluation approaches to measuring climate, faculty, and student impacts. In addition to providing resources, we propose that the ABET DEI framework is missing a critical component: justice. We feel that justice should be emphasized, particularly in biomedical engineering programs because our field has the unique opportunity to promote awareness of injustices and racial disparities in the design, development, and delivery of healthcare and medical technologies. While this paper presents examples of integration in several course types and across different topics, it is intended to inspire additional efforts by the BME community to make more concerted changes to promote DEI in our educational programs. Graphical abstract Graphical abstract demonstrating main themes and connections between different themes in the DEI-J framework presented in the paper. Created with
... Within an innovation project, crises might arise from different sources: they can emerge from exogenous contingent events happening in the external environment (Lagadec, 2007) or from the innovation project itself as innovators are trying to frame it and bring it to life (Blatt, 2009). The former crises are, for example, contingencies related to environmental crises, economic crises, or the more recent COVID-19 pandemic: all events that threaten the innovation project's success but are project independent. ...
... In this study, we examine how pairs behave when experiencing endogenous unexpected and near-disaster crises that threaten the success of the entire innovation project (Blatt, 2009), namely disrupting project-related events characterized by highly ambiguous causes, effects, and means of resolution where decisions must be made swiftly to avoid innovation failure (Williams et al., 2017). We assume that pairs promote resilience to overcome crises and failures, acting mutually as mood stabilizers. ...
This study explores how resilience is activated in pairs fostering innovation. On the one hand, a growing body of literature affirms pairs as a form of collaboration adept at instigating and developing breakthrough innovations. On the other hand, innovation inevitably entails failures and setbacks requiring resilience to thrive. As such, numerous scholars call for investigating how resilience works at different level of analysis in organizations: while much has been said at the individual and organizational levels, the literature is mostly silent on how resilience is activated and emerges through social connections. Therefore, this study explores how resilience emerges, and how it is nurtured and sustained in pairs facing innovation crises. Our multiple case study using data from ten innovation pairs in different industries shows that a pair's intimate environment enables resilience, and this intimacy activates two dynamics. First, it facilitates compassionate witnessing, the creation of cohesiveness within the pair, and mutual engagement to move forward. Second, it enables relational redundancy with actors both within and outside the pair's reference group, which is crucial to understanding who to trust and which direction to pursue. From a theoretical perspective, this study contributes to the literature on resilience and pairs. From a managerial perspective, our study suggests relying on pairs as a possible form of collaboration to nurture resilience in innovation.
... Instead, team resilience truly is a team-level factor that depends upon both the individuals and how they interact. This nascent and emerging concept has been characterized by variables including trust, collective efficacy, cohesion, and social support (7)(8)(9). Other factors such as adaptability may represent key ingredients to team resilience (10), whereas some arguments exist for organizational support supplementing team resilience through the resources provided (11)(12). These findings provide some scope to the concept of team resilience while identifying how both individual-level and organizational-level focus can supplement team resilience. ...
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Introduction. Organizational performance depends upon both individual competencies and team dynamics. The collective ability to collaborate, adapt, recover, and maintain performance is as, or perhaps more, critical to organizational success than the skills or performance of any one team member. As such, it is important for organizations to account for resilience at both the individual and team levels. However, most of the extant research has been devoted to exploring individual resilience rather than team resilience. The current study aimed to fill this knowledge gap by exploring several predicted factors related to team resilience within a deployed military operational environment. Materials and Methods. This study utilized a large sample of naval personnel who completed the Afloat Safety Climate Assessment Survey (N>11,000). Analyses included structural equation modeling to explore several possible factors related to team resilience, including minimizing factors (e.g., job resources and team processes), stressors, and mending efforts (e.g., exercise and socializing). Results. Analyses indicated that each factor differentially contributed to team resilience. Whereas stressors and mending efforts had a nominal influence on team resilience, minimizing factors easily emerged as the largest predictor of team resilience. Minimizing factors also had a significant influence on stressors experienced in the operational environment. Conclusions. These findings thus suggest that team resilience in a chronic stress environment may depend upon prioritizing team processes related to goals, expectations, and training resources. The outcome is notably different from previous work given the context of a naval operational environment, where stressors can be prolonged and team dynamics are critical to all personnel departments.
... In military teams, having team cohesion has been shown to counteract negative outcomes of stressful environments such as poor mental health and decreased team performance (West et al. 2009). Further, teams that are high in resilience also have high team trust and cohesion (Gittell et al. 2006;Norris et al. 2008;Blatt, 2009), thus it appears that high team resilience and high cohesion have a symbiotic relationship. This symbiotic relationship is reflected in the factors that make up both cohesion and resilience. ...
Conference Paper
Adopting autonomous systems into human teams will likely affect the development of critical team states like cohesion. Thus, there is a need to understand how critical states emerge and change within human-autonomy teams and how they can be measured. To address these shortcomings, we developed a novel self-report scale to assess cohesion in human-autonomy teams. We created an initial pool of 134 items from the human team literature, selected to indicate the following dimensions: function-based task cohesion, structural cohesion (Griffith, 1988), interpersonal cohesion (Carron et al., 1985), and two novel subdimensions: perceived team complementarity (Piasentin & Chapman, 2007), and team resilience (Cato et al., 2018). Following assessment by eleven subject matter experts (SMEs), 82 items, were tested for content validity (Neubauer et al., 2021). We then administered items (or the scale) to participants during an online validation study. Although it is believed that all five subdimensions are useful for understanding cohesion in human autonomy teams, further analysis was warranted to evaluate the two new subdimensions. Therefore, the current paper focuses on the psychometric properties of team resilience and team complementarity.The online validation study was conducted at the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) at West Point using Qualtrics survey software. Data were collected from 294 USMA Cadets who ranged in age from 18 to 28 years (M= 19.97, SD= 1.49). We asked participants to imagine they were part of a human agent team that was instructed to work together. They viewed video vignettes illustrating these scenarios. These video clips featured high and low cohesive teams consisting of human and robot team members performing various collaborative tasks. Following the clip, participants rated their perceived level of the team’s cohesion using one or more subdimensions from our newly developed human-autonomy team cohesion scale. Participants also filled out a version of the Group Environment Questionnaire GEQ (Carless and DePaola, 2000).To evaluate our items and their corresponding subfactors, we defined several criteria for inclusion in subsequent research: internal consistency (i.e., whether different items measure the same underlying factor), invariance (i.e., whether items retain their meaning across contexts), sensitivity to depictions of high and low cohesion scenarios, and being both distinct from, and correlated with, the task and social cohesion subfactors from the GEQ-10. In our analyses of team complementarity, we found four items that met our inclusion criteria. In our analyses of team resilience, we first separated items into several subfactors: Team Learning Orientation, Shared Language, Team Functioning, and Perceived Efficacy (Berg et al., 2021; Morgan et al., 2013). Of the subfactors, only the Perceived Efficacy subfactor had good measurement properties. The Shared Language subfactor had good internal consistency and met criteria for partial scalar invariance, so it may contain helpful items in future measures. The results of these analyses highlight Team Complementarity as a salient subdimension for cohesion and suggest consideration for incorporating Perceived Efficacy into future Team Cohesion measurements.
... In the interim, the tirelessness component, as a feature of improvement in resilience, may impact commitment, as leading this upgrades the feeling of obligation to finish a capacity (Markman et al. 2005) and the ability to devote. Moreover, the obligation to develop and make the aim to learn and create (Blatt, 2009), finds that the creativity that enables teams to adapt successfully in the face of unexpected setbacks can be created by adopting a communal approach towards team members, characterised by genuine caring, and by enacting contracting practices that increase explicitness and transparency in interactions about the day-to-day operation of the firm. ...
Abstract: Due to the Industrial Revolution (IR-04), the technologies are extensively used globally because of their potential to increase productivity, in almost all engineering industries, business establishments, etc. The cutting-edge technologies have way left behind the Indian academia of engineering and vocational education in fulfilling the need of the new Generation ‘Z’ for IR-04. Appropriate pedagogical integration of increasing power of computing technology, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and advancement in software technologies can augment the contemporary education system to meet the emerging labor market needs. Therefore, a blended education system, augmented with different technological resources and industrial practices will promote intensive learning experiences for learners to suit the present industrial revolution. Wherein, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies can prepare graduates with simulated practical experiences similar to a real industrial environment. This paper proposes and discusses an innovative ‘Blended Educational Learning and Augmented Training Approach (BELATA)’ for India's engineering and vocational education system based on the Problem Based Learning (PBL) curriculum development approach. The ‘BELATA’ would be a way to transform the present higher education system through blended educational learning, virtual reality, and augmented reality technologies followed by industrial experience in equipping the students of the future by the NEP-2020 policy of the MoE Government of India. This paper is a conceptual paper based on the authors' critical review of policy documents, research papers & practices in developed countries, and authors’ experiences in education and training.
... For example, the positive emotions parts might provoke the extended commitment and a decline of pressure that might occur intellectually or maybe really, (Fredrickson, 2009), During the meantime, the eagerness fraction, as a part of progress in resilience, may affect responsibility, as driving this overhauls the sensation of commitment to entire limit (Markman et. al., 2005), Besides, the assurance to generate and make the arrangement to become skilled & make (Blatt, 2009), of course burnedthrough and genuine collapse may furthermore take place. ...
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Resilience is a significant part of engagement since it permits individuals to recuperate from adverse occasions. Certain individuals are hereditarily inclined to have more significant levels of resilience. Versatile specialists are more fulfilled and connected with at work, and they perform better compared to their less strong partners. The job of resilience as far as developmental persistency, positive emotions predicting employee engagement, and organizational engagement was examined in this research paper. Thus, this underlines the position of resilience in affecting engagement the review was led utilizing Google forms for TN telecom employees of solidarity 364. At first, the analysis found a critical relationship between the two variables, and the model was constructed and validated. Further, the current research investigated the multiple moderations influencing on relationship with the backing of SPSS Process Macros, and based on these discoveries, suggestions, and conclusions are made.
... Our findings on jazz bands suggest new research on the network leadership of entrepreneurial teams that are involved in new product development and launch (Conlon & Jehn, 2009). These entrepreneurs resemble jazz musician in that they experience setbacks in uncertain environments in the form of roadblocks, failures, and disappointments that erode resilience (Blatt, 2009). Jazz musicians and other creative workers often struggle for years to gain visibility while experiencing periods of unemployment and uncertainty (Caves, 2000;Friedman & Laurison, 2019). ...
Recent decades have seen a growth in theoretical frameworks focusing on systems, context and the dynamic interplay of multiple variables, stimulating interest in complementary research and programme evaluation methods. With resilience theory now emphasising the complex and dynamic nature of resilience capacities, processes and outcomes, resilience programming stands to benefit from approaches such as design-based research and realist research/evaluation. The aim of this collaborative (researcher/practitioner) study was to explore how such benefits can be achieved when programme theory spans individual, community and institutional outcomes, with a focus on the reciprocal processes involved in effecting change across the social system. The context of the research was a regional (Middle East and North Africa) project operating in contexts with an escalated risk of marginalised young people being drawn into illegal/harmful activity. The project's youth engagement and development approach combined participatory learning, skills training, and collective social action, adapted for diverse localities and during the COVID-19 crisis. Quantitative measures of individual and collective resilience were at the centre of a set of realist analyses evidencing systemic connections in changes to individual, collective and community resilience. Findings demonstrated the value, challenges and limitations of the applied research approach for adaptive, contextualised programming.
Innovation project management is never easy—adversities like budget cuts, fluctuation, and conflicts constantly patter project teams. Recent events of the corona pandemic further complicate matters with restrictions, lockdowns, and uncertainty. This situation urges project leaders and companies to find ways to deal with adverse conditions and simultaneously pursue ambitious project goals. The concept of resilience offers a promising approach for the individual and the project team to deal with adversities. Innovation resilience behaviour aims to enable project teams to identify whether a project is getting off-track and to get it back on track again. This study empirically investigates the relationship between innovation resilience behaviour, project adversities, and project success using 87 innovation project teams. The results show that innovation resilience behaviour positively relates to project success. We further find evidence that innovation resilience behaviour becomes more critical when adversity increases.
Racial diversity in higher education leadership has been slow to cultivate and keep pace with demographic changes. Even though there are numerous ways to examine this elusive problem, higher education scholarship has not studied how faculty of Color construct a leader identity. Using an interpretative phenomenological analytical approach, this qualitative exploratory study examines how 31 newly tenured faculty of Color participants from three different research-intensive, Midwestern, public institutions construct a leader identity. Using DeRue and Ashford’s (2010) leader identity theory as an analytical framework to view the everyday experiences of faculty of Color, results are presented through three different levels of social analysis: (a) intrapersonal reflections, (b) interpersonal interactions, and (c) organizational acknowledgments. Results indicate leader identity is catalyzed from: (a) racial community inspiration, (b) career aspiration, (c) explicit encouragement, (d) interdisciplinary organizational structures, and (e) diversity advocacy. On the other hand, leader identity is inhibited by: (a) researcher and leader identity conflict, (b) lack of preparation, (c) implicit signaling, (d) tokenization withdraw, (e) ambiguous collective endorsement, and (f) formal leader denial. Implications for theory, practice, and future research are discussed.
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Foreword Part I. Introduction and Theory: 1. Interpersonal situations: the context of social behavior 2. Outcome interdependence 3. Interaction conditions and person factors 4. Exploring the geography of the outcome patterns Part II The Situations: Preface to the Entries for the Situations Single Component Patterns: 1. Independence: we go our separate ways 2. Mutual partner control: I scratch your back, you scratch mine 3. Corresponding mutual joint control: getting in sync 4. Conflicting mutual joint control: match or mismatch Two- and three-component patterns: 5. The prisoner's dilemma: me versus we 6. Threat: trading loyalty for justice 7. Chicken: death before dishonor 8. Hero: let's do it your way 9. Conjunctive problems: together we can do it 10. Disjunctive problems: either of us can do it 11. Asymmetric dependence: you're the boss Time-extended patterns: 12. Iterated prisoner's dilemma: united we stand, divided we fall 13. Investment: building for the future 14. Delay of gratification: resisting temptation Incomplete information situations 15. Negotiation: can we agree on a deal? 16. Encounters with strangers: lack of information about a partner 17. Joint decisions under uncertainty: bird in the hand 18. Twists of fate: coping with an uncertain future N-person Situations 19. Third parties: effects of an outsider 20. N-person prisoner's dilemma: tragedy of the commons Movement from one situation to another 21. Movement among situations: where do we go from here? Part III. Epilogue.
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Research into the management of interorganizational relationships has hitherto primarily focused on problems of coordination, control and to a lesser extent, legitimacy. In this article, we assert that partners cooperating in such relationships are also confronted with ‘problems of understanding’. Such problems arise from differences between partners in terms of culture, experience, structure and industry, and from the uncertainty and ambiguity that participants in interorganizational relationships experience in early stages of collaboration. Building on Karl Weick’s theory of sensemaking, we advance that participants in interorganizational relationships use formalization as a means to make sense of their partners, the interorganizational relationships in which they are engaged and the contexts in which these are embedded so as to diminish problems of understanding. We offer a systematic overview of the mechanisms through which formalization facilitates sensemaking, including: (1) focusing participants’ attention; (2) provoking articulation, deliberation and reflection; (3) instigating and maintaining interaction; and (4) reducing judgment errors and individual biases, and diminishing incompleteness and inconsistency of cognitive representations. In this way, the article contributes to a better understanding of the relationships between formalization and sensemaking in collaborative relationships, and it carries Karl Weick’s thinking on the relationship between sensemaking and organizing forward in the context of interorganizational management.
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Foundations of a New Discipline.
This essay traces the development of the research enterprise, known as the social resources theory, which formulated and tested a number of propositions concerning the relationships between embedded resources in social networks and socioeconomic attainment. This enterprise, seen in the light of social capital, has accumulated a substantial body of research literature and supported the proposition that social capital, in terms of both access and mobilization of embedded resources, enhances the chances of attaining better statuses. Further, social capital is contingent on initial positions in the social hierarchies as well as on extensity of social ties. The essay concludes with a discussion of remaining critical issues and future research directions for this research enterprise.
This study focused on the conditions under which job dissatisfaction will lead to creativity as an expression of voice. We theorized that useful feedback from coworkers, coworker helping and support, and perceived organizational support for creativity would each interact with job dissatisfaction and continuance commitment (commitment motivated by necessity) to result in creativity. In a sample of 149 employees, as hypothesized, employees with high job dissatisfaction exhibited the highest creativity when continuance commitment was high and when (1) useful feedback from coworkers, or (2) coworker helping and support, or (3) perceived organizational support for creativity was high.
As both technologies and organizations undergo dramatic changes in form and function, organizational researchers are increasingly turning to concepts of innovation, emergence, and improvisation to help explain the new ways of organizing and using technology evident in practice. With a similar intent, I propose an extension to the structurational perspective on technology that develops a practice lens to examine how people, as they interact with a technology in their ongoing practices, enact structures which shape their emergent and situated use of that technology. Viewing the use of technology as a process of enactment enables a deeper understanding of the constitutive role of social practices in the ongoing use and change of technologies in the workplace. After developing this lens, I offer an example of its use in research, and then suggest some implications for the study of technology in organizations.
Proceeding from the distinction between communal and exchange relationships drawn in previous work, it was hypothesized that keeping track of the needs of a friend would be greater than keeping track of the needs of a stranger and that keeping track of a stranger's inputs into a joint task would be greater than keeping track of the inputs of a friend. These hypotheses were tested in an experiment in which the number of times subjects looked at lights (which never changed) was the dependent measure. In the "needs" condition, a change in the lights meant the other person needed help (which the subject could not provide). In the "inputs" condition, a change in the lights meant the other had made a substantial contribution to a joint task. In support of the hypotheses, it was found that the number of looks at the lights in the "needs" condition was significantly greater when the other was a friend than a stranger, while the number of looks in the "inputs" condition was significantly greater when the other was a stranger than a friend.