📌 Key facts
In Q2 2022 alone, more than 700 startups were founded in Germany (Statista, 2022). The majority of these startups consist of a founding team with more than one founder. While this brings advantages, e. g., in terms of different previous experiences, it also increases the risk of leaving the team due to team conflicts (Howarth, 2022).
To find out more about what makes a startup team thrive, we are conducting a large-scale longitudinal study on predicting startup success. After the recruitment of male cofounder dyads, we will administer online questionnaires and execute an on-site study in which we will record the founders' behavior (e.g., via video recordings, EDA measurement).
The whole project is based on the work of marriage researcher John Gottman, who found that emotional valence, physiological arousal, and conflict styles during an argument are (amongst others) predictors of marital failure. We are interested in whether these predictors also affect the failure of young businesses. The four master’s theses offered are concentrating on one predictor each:
- Topic 1: It’s not my Fault! – The Role of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in New Venture Dyads during Conflict
- Topic 2: You Stress me Out! Effects of Physiological Arousal in New Venture Dyads during Conflict
- Topic 3: Laugh is the Key – The Role of Positive Emotion in New Venture Dyads during Conflict
- Topic 4: Birds of a Feather Flock Together? The Role of Personality and Emotional Intelligence in New Venture Dyads
Gottman found that criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling (’the four horsemen of the apocalypse’) are predictors of marital failure. We are interested in whether these negative discussion behaviors also affect the failure of young businesses.
Gottman found that the physiological arousal and ability to self-soothe during conflict in newlyweds predicts the success of their marriage. We are interested in whether physiological arousal during conflict also affects the success of young businesses.
Gottman found that the relation of positive and negative emotions during conflict in newlyweds predicts the success of their marriage. We are interested in whether these emotional states also affect the success of young businesses.
Personality, as well as emotional intelligence of both cofounders might influence the team’s satisfaction and success. We’re interested in how these constructs are related.
Your role will be to work with our team at the chair of strategy and organization and other master's thesis students on subject recruitment and data collection. Methods will include (dependent on your topic) online questionnaires, qualitative and quantitative content analyses, video analyses of emotions (using emotion software), and physiological measures.
🦾Who We Are
The Chair for Strategy and Organization is focused on research with impact. This means we do not want to repeat old ideas and base our research solely on the research people did 10 years ago. Instead, we currently research topics that will shape the future. Topics such as Agile Organizations and Digital Disruption, Blockchain Technology, Creativity and Innovation, Digital Transformation and Business Model Innovation, Diversity, Education: Education Technology and Performance Management, HRTech, Leadership, and Teams. We are always early in noticing trends, technologies, strategies, and organizations that shape the future, which has its ups and downs.
🧠 Topics of Interest
- Emotional intelligence
- Conflict styles
- Marriage research
- The four horsemen of the apocalypse
- Business success
- Positive emotions
- Experimental design
- Support of startup recruitment and on-site data collection.
- Analysis of questionnaires, video data, physiological measures (dependent on topic).
- Previous experience or interest in psychological topics and methods (such as content analyses, online questionnaires, experimental design…) is a plus.
- Since the experiment will be conducted in German, native German language skills are mandatory.
📚 Further Reading
What Percentage of Startups Fail? 80+ Statistics (2022)
by Josh HowarthJuly 23, 2022 According to the latest data, up to 90% of startups fail. Across almost all industries, the average failure rate for year one is 10% However, in years two through five, a staggering 70% of new businesses will fail. How likely is your startup to fail?
Gottman, J. M., & Levenson, R. W. (1992). Marital processes predictive of later dissolution: behavior, physiology, and health. Journal of personality and social psychology, 63(2), 221.
Gottman, J. M., Cole, C., & Cole, D. L. (2019). Four Horsemen in Couple and Family Therapy. In Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy (pp. 1212-1216). Cham: Springer International Publishing.
📬 How to Apply
- Please send your complete application documents (CV, Transcript of Records, Research Proposal) in one pdf file to email@example.com.
- Research Proposal (1 page) must include
- Research question that aligns with the project (please refer to topic 1, 2, 3, or 4; see above)
- Max of 10 key references relating to this topic and concise summary of these key references
- Suggested hypotheses
- Statistical/analysis approach
- Application deadline: 31.12.2022
- Start date: January 2023
- Kick-off: 19.01.2023, 1 to 3 pm