R&D Investment in Family and Non-Family Sart-ups: A Behavioral Perspective

Nicolas Classen
Nicolas Classen
  • Speaker
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University Rotterdam

Event Information

Research Seminar
Strategy & Entrepreneurship
Thu. 20 Jun. 2013
Pursey Heugens
13:00-14:30 hours
Mandeville Building T03-39


The behavioural theory of the firm suggests that reference points influence the level of individual and organizational risk taking. In this study we propose that family start-ups and start-ups performing below aspiration have distinct reference foci which influence their level of research and development (R&D) investment intensity. Longitudinal data from the Kauffman Firm Survey (KFS) on 912 U.S. start-ups provides empirical evidence for our theoretical framework. We find that family start-ups in which at least two members of the same family own the majority stake invest less into the R&D of new products and services compared to non-family start-ups. Whereas performance below aspiration generally increases start-ups’ subsequent R&D investment, this relationship is negatively moderated by family start-up status such that family start-ups increase their R&D expenditures to a lesser extent after performance below aspiration. 

Pursey Heugens
Professor of Organization Theory, Development, and Change, Scientific Director ERIM, Dean of Research RSM
  • Coordinator
Hans van Oosterhout
Professor of Corporate Governance and Responsibility
  • Coordinator