Sourcing and Organizing Human Capital in New Ventures: Does Startup Experience Matter?

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New ventures’ talent can dictate their success, possibly more than their business strategy. Yet, limited work has investigated the determinants and implications of new ventures’ hiring strategies. Building on organizational learning and imprinting theories, this paper studies whether and how founder’s entrepreneurial experience can influence staffing strategies, namely the breadth and depth of both human capital sourcing and new venture’s functional structure. We furthermore investigate whether experience shapes hiring routines differently in case of prior entrepreneurial failure. Using Danish register data, we compare the hiring practices of a sample of serial entrepreneurs in manufacturing and knowledge-intensive services to those of a control group of novice founders, who will also engage in serial venturing in the future. We find suggestive evidence of trial-and-error behavior in hiring strategies among serial entrepreneurs who have discontinued previous ventures. Post-hoc analyses do not discard learning (from failure) as one of the explanations for different staffing practices among (some) serial entrepreneurs.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2018
Number of pages35
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventDRUID18 Conference - Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark
Duration: 11 Jun 201813 Jun 2018
Conference number: 40


ConferenceDRUID18 Conference
LocationCopenhagen Business School
Internet address


  • Entrepreneurial experience
  • Failure
  • Hiring
  • New ventures
  • Strategic human capital

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