New submission deadline: July 31st, 2017


M. Diane Burton, Cornell University, Massimo G. Colombo,Politecnico di Milano, Cristina Rossi-Lamastra, Politecnico diMilano, Noam Wasserman, University of Southern California

BackgroundandSpecial Issue Purpose

This special issue offers a forum for researchers who are interested in the strategic importance oforganizational design in entrepreneurial ventures. We hope to gather the best examples ofempirical research and theoretical development and showcase novel empirical strategies and newdata sources. We are particularly interested in work that develops new conceptual frameworks orintegrates findings and theories across multiple domains and perspectives.

Much of what is known about the internal organization of firms is based on the study of largeestablished organizations. Comparatively little research effort has been devoted to understandingthe internal organization of entrepreneurial ventures. Moreover, only a handful of studies havegone to the core of the constitutive elements of the internal organization in these firms, such as theemergence of hierarchy (Colombo and Grilli, 2013), functional specialization (Beckman and Burton,2008), formalization (Sine et al., 2006), and the adoption of managerial practices (Baron, Burtonand Hannan, 1999; Colombo et al., 2013). To date most scholars have mainly relied on a lifecycleevolutionary model whereby the successful firms evolve into traditional bureaucratic firms through aprocess of professionalization (Greiner 1972; Charan et al., 1980; Hellman and Puri, 2002). Yetthere is evidence of interesting variety among new ventures and important deviations from astandard evolutionary path (Baron and Hannan, 2002) and opportunities for founders to make keychoices that have consequences for a venture’s future success (Wasserman, 2012).

The past decade has seen tremendous advances in data collection and availability (e.g. theKauffman Firm Survey, the World Management Survey, and the national matched employer-employee databases). While gathering data on the internal workings of organizations continues tobe time and resource intensive (c.f. Bloom et al., 2014), the time is ripe to collate what has beenlearned and set the agenda for future research.


Some broad research questions that might be addressed by contributions in the special issuemight include:

· What are the internal and external contingencies that explain the diverseorganizational arrangements seen in new ventures?

· How does the internal organization of entrepreneurial ventures interact withgovernance, ownership, industry, and geography?

· How important are “genetic” characteristics of firms? What are the peculiarities inthe organization of family firms, academic start-ups, born-global firms, orentrepreneurial ventures with open business models?

· Does the entrepreneurial ventures’ internal organization affect economic and innovative performance?


Submissions to this special issue should be prepared in accordance with SEJ’s submission processdescribed at The submission window is from May 1, 2017 toJuly 31st, 2017. Please make sure to indicate that your submission is for the special issue onOrganizational Design of Entrepreneurial Ventures.

Publication of this special issue is planned for late 2019 or early 2020.