Survival of New Firms
Professor recognized for innovative research on firm survival factors
As the nation searches for the end of the worst
economic crisis since the Great Depression, one Fox School professor is
conducting research that can help entrepreneurs establish enduring businesses,
even in today’s harsh economic climate.
Dr. Sheryl Winston-Smith, assistant professor of
Strategic Management, was recognized in Fall 2010 by the Kauffman Foundation
for her innovative and relevant research on firm survival factors.
With University of Washington Assistant Professor
Sonali Shah, Winston-Smith co-authored “Intellectual Property, Prior Knowledge,
and the Survival of New Firms,” a paper exploring the variables that contribute
to business survival or failure.
Rather than seeking a precise equation of success
and failure factors, as was typically the approach, Winston-Smith described her
research as piecing together a puzzle with varying arrangements and
“It’s the puzzle piece of what you’re doing in the
industry and what you’ve learned about being an entrepreneur in the industry in
conjunction with intellectual property (i.e. patents),” Winston-Smith said.
“It’s the idea of looking not just at intellectual property, and not just
experience, but this combination. No one’s really done that before.”
Working closely with the Ewing Marion Kauffman
Foundation, one of the nation’s largest entrepreneurship foundations,
Winston-Smith and Shah obtained grants from the foundation and access to its
extensive research database. Winston-Smith was the first researcher to gain
access to the database of 5,000 extensively surveyed firms.
After finalizing their paper, Winston-Smith and
Shah were awarded “Best Paper” by the Kauffman Foundation after a review of all
Kauffman-funded papers. They presented their research at the Strategic
Management Society meeting in Rome in September 2010 after speaking at a number
of conferences in the U.S.
Today, Winston-Smith is furthering her research,
working on a handful of new projects that explore additional ways of measuring
firm success, the capital structure of firms and the effect of the economic
crisis on firms. “Intellectual Property, Prior Knowledge, and the Survival of
New Firms” is currently under review at a top academic journal.
– Meg Hughes