They have no idea! An exploratory study of the formation of idealess teams

Thomas Probst

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis explores how and why idealess teams form. Based on a review of the literature, it is found that neither the resource view, nor the interpersonal attraction view can logically result in this team formation. To figure out exactly where the idealess team stands in regards to the theories, when neither of them can apply, the discrepancy between the theories are explored. It is found that there are four different startup types, divided on two axes: mundane versus innovative and resource non-specific versus resource specific. It is demonstrated that the two team formation models are each applicable to one of the team types, and that there are subsequently two that have not been theoretically explored. This finding was in complete accordance with prior results. The specification of the team type relative to the established theories of team formation, allowed us to specify four areas of interest, which had to be a part of the formation of idealess groups. Three exploratory interviews were subsequently conducted, to figure out the relationship between these areas of interest, and to see if any other elements could be identified. Based on the findings from these interviews and the previously identified areas of interest, a model of the idealess team formation was proposed. There were four important findings in this regard: (i) the idealess team starts as a strong tie social group, which if entrepreneurial identity is evident in the subjects of this group, can morph into an idealess team, either implicitly or explicitly. (ii) The team members conduct a two-tiered resource evaluation, where not only are the resources a restraint, but they must also be fairly used. (iii) It is proposed that this two-tiered resource evaluation can result in bloat, which can kill a startup before it starts. (iiii) If the two-tiered resource evaluation does not kill the startup, it can result in very lean and potentially very innovative companies, as it introduces an element of randomness in resource endowments. These four findings should be further researched, before they are considered generally applicable, as the thesis is primarily exploratory. However the conclusion that there are four different types of startup, was logically derived from the literature, and as such should be considered completely valid and generalizable. This finding constitutes an important contribution to the literature.

EducationsCand.merc.smc Strategic Market Creation, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages92