Entrepreneurial Dynamics and Acquisitions of New Technology-Based Firms

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)


The aim of this thesis is to explore the evolution of new technology-based firms (NTBFs) based on solid empirical material for the Swedish economy. NTBFs are argued to be one important type of entrepreneurial firms that contribute to technology change, knowledge spillovers, and economic growth. However, our knowledge concerning how NTBFs exert their technological and economic influences is far from complete. Over the recent decades, acquisition by incumbent firms has become an important event in the dynamics of NTBFs. But existing studies on new firms still concentrate on the survival and growth performance in general. Little is known about how acquisition affects the dynamics of NTBFs. This thesis addresses this gap by focusing on the role of acquisition by incumbent firms in the evolution of NTBFs.

The thesis follows a framework that suggests that the evolution of new firms is subject to both “passive learning” (environmental selection) and “active learning" (organizational adaptation) processes to investigate the evolution of NTBFs. Based on comprehensive micro-level data for Sweden and econometric methods, this thesis shows that selection is a core feature in the evolution of NTBFs. NTBFs experience a high exit rate during the first years after entry, though they exhibit a higher survival probability than other types of entrepreneurial firms in general. Moreover, acquisition is an alternative but important selection mechanism for start-ups, particularly for NTBFs. Compared to exit, acquisition is a rare event. But through acquisition, acquirers select “quality” start-ups in terms of technological capabilities and efficiency, especially when acquirers are from multinational enterprises (MNEs). For acquired NTBFs, their economic roles do not terminate after acquisition. Acquired NTBFs experience an extensive internal selection and experimentation by acquirers within 4 years after acquisition. If acquired NTBFs survive the internal selection and experimentation process, the growth of acquired NTBFs is likely to be promoted, but this pertains only to acquisition by Swedish MNEs. This thesis bridges two formerly fragmented research areas – entrepreneurship and mergers and acquisitions (M&As) – and also sheds light on how NTBFs exhibit their technological and economic impacts through acquisitions by incumbent firms.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Economic History
  • Ejermo, Olof, Supervisor
  • Kander, Astrid, Supervisor
  • Enflo, Kerstin, Supervisor
Award date2014 Nov 19
ISBN (Print)978-91-87793-08-0
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2014-11-19
Time: 14:15
Place: EC3:210

External reviewer(s)

Name: Coad, Alex
Title: [unknown]
Affiliation: SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Economic History

Free keywords

  • Business groups
  • New technology-based firms (NTBFs)
  • Acquisitions
  • Entrepreneurial dynamics
  • Acquisition effects
  • Survival
  • Firm growth
  • Business cycle
  • Multinational enterprises (MNEs)
  • Longitudinal data
  • Discrete-time duration models
  • Competition risks models
  • Fixed effects model
  • Inverse-probability-of-treatment weights (IPTW)
  • Sweden


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