Author's School

Olin Business School


English (en)

Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Daniel W. Elfenbein

Committee Members

Lamar Pierce, Seth Carnahan, Barton Hamilton, Rajshree Agarwal,


This dissertation investigates three interrelated aspects of firm performance and entrepreneurship in the United States through addressing classic questions in strategic management, extending them to human enterprise, and, ultimately, to social impact. The first chapter explores the changes in the relative contributions of industry and corporate effects in explaining heterogeneity in business performance of multi-business firms between 1978 to 2019, highlighting the growing role of value creation at the corporate level of the enterprise. The second chapter delves into the impact of venture acquisitions by large leading firms on employee entrepreneurship by founders, specifically examining the post-exit careers of tech entrepreneurs. The study reveals that first-time founders who exited to large leading technology firms from 2009 to 2018 were more likely to re-enter entrepreneurship after leaving the acquirer, suggesting critical knowledge spillovers from these firms to founders in the post-acquisition employment period. The third chapter documents the engagement of exited entrepreneurs in non-profit initiatives beyond grant-based philanthropy from 2009 to 2019. The analysis shows that first-time participation in non-profit initiatives increases after exiting a for-profit venture and that exited entrepreneurs’ involvement in local non-profits’ executive teams is associated with higher gross receipts. These three chapters collectively contribute to the understanding of the rise of large leading firms, experienced entrepreneurs, and entrepreneur philanthropists in the United States at a time in which these key players are co-creating frontier innovations with world-changing potential. The connections between them could be important for scholars, managers, and policymakers to consider in advancing innovation, competitiveness, and efficiency in the United States in a way that is sustainable and socially responsible.

Available for download on Wednesday, July 10, 2024