Title: Sequence analysis in entrepreneurship research: business founders' life courses and early-stage firm survival

Authors: Anna Heimann-Roppelt; Silke Tegtmeier

Addresses: Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Scharnhorststraße 1, 21335 Lüneburg, Germany ' SDU Innovation and Design Engineering, University of Southern Denmark, Mads Clausen Institute, Alsion 2, 6400 Sønderborg, Denmark

Abstract: This paper introduces the method of sequence analysis in entrepreneurship research. Informed by life course theory, we argue that depending on duration and timing, human capital can depreciate during work interruptions (such as unemployment or parental leave) but also be restored by re-entering and staying in the job market. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, we analyse the educational and occupational life courses of individuals who have started a business. We investigate whether there are patterns in the biographies of these individuals. Exploratory analysis reveals that seven types of founders can be differentiated. In this sample, cluster 1 appeared to be most successful in terms of early-stage firm survival. Sequence analysis has proved to be a valuable method to improve the efficiency of research on the life courses of business founders. This study invites future research to take a deeper look at life-course-based factors of business activity and success.

Keywords: sequence analysis; entrepreneurship; start-ups; self-employment; entry; human capital; life course theory; early-stage firm survival; GSOEP; patterns; biographies; career paths; cluster analysis; optimal matching technique; OMT.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEV.2018.093230

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 2018 Vol.10 No.3, pp.333 - 361

Received: 07 May 2015
Accepted: 15 Jan 2016

Published online: 29 Jun 2018 *

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