Get access

Top Management Teams, Business Models, and Performance of Biotechnology Ventures: An Upper Echelon Perspective


  • *This work was partially funded by an EXIST-HighTEPP scholarship of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research to H. P. We would like to thank three anonymous referees for their valuable comments.

Corresponding author email:


In this paper we introduce a new contingency variable that moderates the effect of top management team composition on organizational performance – the organization's business model. Arguing from an upper echelon perspective and drawing on data from 99 German biotechnology ventures, we show that founder-based firm-specific experience of management team members can have either a positive or a negative effect on performance, depending on whether the venture pursues a platform or a therapeutics business model, respectively. Our results also show that managers' experience collected in the pharmaceutical industry has a positive effect on performance, and that this effect is more positive for therapeutics than for platform ventures. We discuss the implications of these findings for the literature on upper echelons and entrepreneurial founding teams.