Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Core Competency Deficits in Failed Startup Teams: Towards a Startup-specific Behavioral Competency Model

Version 1 : Received: 27 January 2020 / Approved: 28 January 2020 / Online: 28 January 2020 (10:37:41 CET)

How to cite: Szathmari, E.; Varga, Z.; Molnar, A.; Nemeth, G.; Kiss, O. Core Competency Deficits in Failed Startup Teams: Towards a Startup-specific Behavioral Competency Model. Preprints 2020, 2020010338 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202001.0338.v1). Szathmari, E.; Varga, Z.; Molnar, A.; Nemeth, G.; Kiss, O. Core Competency Deficits in Failed Startup Teams: Towards a Startup-specific Behavioral Competency Model. Preprints 2020, 2020010338 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202001.0338.v1).

Abstract

Purpose: There is limited research on the reasons behind startup failure, and none of the available studies use a competency approach. In this study we applied Spencer’s competency model to identify the competencies in startups which, according to their CEOs, contributed to failure. Methodology: Three coders analyzed the stories of 50 startup failures published online using modified Critical Incident Technique. Findings: Two salient competencies were identified playing a fundamental role in startup failures if missing: Information seeking and Customer service orientation. A network pattern of 9 more prevalent competency deficits was created: Technical/professional/managerial expertise, Analytical thinking, Flexibility, Self-control, Concern for order, quality and accuracy, Interpersonal understanding, Self-confidence, Team leadership and Teamwork and cooperation. Besides startup-specific behavior descriptions were added to Spencer’s competencies. Research implications: Competency approach and Critical Incident Technique method proved to be feasible to identify competency deficits in failed startups. Practical implications: The identified competency deficits offer relevant focus areas for the assessment and development of startup teams. Originality: The study provided research evidence to describe the competency deficits of startup teams that are connected to their failure.

Subject Areas

startup failure; competency approach; Critical Incident Technique; Information seeking; Customer service orientation

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