Theses Doctoral

The Dynamics of Culture in Entrepreneurial Ventures

Cho, Soomin

This dissertation focuses on the dynamics of organizational culture in the context of entrepreneurial ventures. As ventures face a myriad of challenges to grow in uncertain environments, early-stage culture—a system of norms, values, and beliefs shared by organizational members in the early stage of ventures—can be used as valuable resources that lead to a competitive advantage for ventures. Despite the acknowledged importance of culture in the success of organizations, there is a lack of empirical evidence on the role of culture and the factors that affect culture in ventures. One possible reason behind the limited progress on this research may be that it is empirically challenging to observe culture of ventures longitudinally from their inception on a large scale.

This dissertation aims to overcome this challenge and investigate the dynamics of ventures’ culture computationally. Hence, throughout this dissertation, I apply various machine learning techniques to measure organizational culture and employee values in ventures. The primary data used for my dissertation are a large sample of venture employee reviews from Glassdoor, which allows me to obtain elements of culture in ventures throughout the stages of ventures’ development. In the three studies, I investigate how culture influences strategic decisions and growth outcomes of ventures, as well as the factors that influence employee values in social ventures.

Chapter 1 proposes a cultural perspective to explain how the emotional and cognitive organizational culture shaped by employees influences the type of entrepreneurial strategies a venture pursues. This study finds that ventures with emotional cultural diversity tend to choose strategies guided by exploration, while those with cognitive cultural diversity tend to select strategies guided by ambidexterity.

Chapter 2 focuses on the performance implications of organizational culture and the importance of founding culture in providing a competitive advantage for ventures. This study investigates the effects of temporal transmission of founding culture in terms of emotional and cognitive dimensions, shedding new light on the importance of founding culture in ventures through the lens of emotion and cognition. Chapter 3 explores the antecedents of change in employee values, which are one of the layers of organizational culture, driven by an exogenous shock that affects some ventures more than others. I examine how the priorities in different employee values change in the aftermath of a shock.

Taken together, my dissertation provides new insights into the role of early-stage organizational culture and the factors that influence employee values in entrepreneurial contexts. I hope that my dissertation will provide insight into how entrepreneurs can effectively manage and make sense of organizational culture to navigate the growth of their ventures.


This item is currently under embargo. It will be available starting 2028-05-05.

More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Ingram, Paul L.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 10, 2023