Who Benefits from Having a Partner? Intrinsic Motivation, Partnership Decisions, and the Chance of Becoming a Profitable Firm

Jihae Shin, Yale School of Management; Laura Huang, Harvard Business School; and Yuna Cho, HKU Business School

Abstract: Entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial firms are often the drivers of innovation, and success for entrepreneurial firms often means development and introduction of innovative products and services. This project examines the role that having a partner plays in early-stage entrepreneurial firm performance. The decision on whether to have a partner or not when starting a company is extremely important for founders, as it can influence every aspect of running a business from then on. While a complementarity perspective (i.e., partnership gains occur when there is a complementarity between partners) is dominant with regards to this issue, little research actually addressed the question of exactly when the need for complementarity arises. This research addresses this question of when by looking at the motivational characteristics of the original founder.