Venture capitalist-entrepreneur conflicts: An exploratory study of determinants and possible resolutions

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Abstract

Purpose - The aim of this paper is to examine the inherent and actual conflicts between venture capitalists (VCs) and entrepreneurs, as well as the possible resolutions of these conflicts. Design/methodology/approach - This paper is based on 42 semi-structured interviews conducted with Israeli VCs and entrepreneurs (14 VCs and 28 entrepreneurs). In addition, quantitative data were collected about VCs' scope of involvement and their perceived portfolio performance. Findings - It was found that conflict is inherent in VCs and entrepreneurs' relations as both parties have different conceptions of the venture and the contractual arrangements. Actual conflicts were found to be associated with VCs' level of involvement and perceived performance. The findings indicate that VCs' strategic involvement is associated with cognitive conflicts and collaboration, whereas VCs' managerial involvement is associated with managerial replacement and affective conflicts. The findings provide an insight into the dynamic nature of conflicts between VCs and entrepreneurs, suggesting that affective conflicts may sometimes evolve into cognitive mode, as managerial replacement enables both parties to restructure their relations. Research limitation/implications - The findings call for further examination of interorganizational conflicts involving asymmetry of power and resource dependence. In addition, the findings also call for deeper examination of how coordination mechanisms of interorganizational relations come to be a source of conflict and how such conflicts may vary in different contexts. Practical implications - The findings of this paper suggest that both VCs and entrepreneurs should establish conflict management mechanisms, such as similar conceptions and a shared vision, to ensure better cooperation. Originality/value - This paper provides an in-depth insight into the embeddedness of conflicts in VCs and entrepreneurs' relations. The finding of this study contribute to theory building of VCs and entrepreneurs' conflicts suggesting that VCs' cooperation depends on both parties' ability to resolve inherent and actual conflicts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-292
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Journal of Conflict Management
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Channel relationships
  • Conflict
  • Conflict resolution
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Israel
  • Venture capital

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