Relational pluralism in de novo organizations: Boards of directors as bridges or barriers to diverse alliance portfolios?

Christine M. Beckman, Claudia Bird Schoonhoven, Renee M. Rottner, Sang Joon Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper develops relational pluralism as a collective construct whose dimensions are heterogeneity, multiplexity, and asymmetry. Relational pluralism is instantiated in the board of directors, whose network of relationships influence a new venture's ability to establish external links beyond the networks of the founding team. We argue that relational pluralism speeds the establishment of a diverse alliance portfolio, which, in turn, speeds the attainment of major revenue milestones in a new firm. We examine these ideas in a population of de novo semiconductor firms and find that diverse alliance portfolios emerge faster when a board includes members with heterogeneous, multiplex relationships, as well as central network positions. However, the asymmetric influence of outside board members can have both positive and negative effects: the alliance formation process is aided by outsiders in central network positions, but impeded when central investors dominate the board. We discuss implications for our understanding of relational pluralism as a collective construct.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-483
Number of pages24
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Volume57
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2014

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