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The effect of firm complexity and founding team size on agile internal communication in startups

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Abstract

Today’s firms, particularly startups, require agile communication to sense and seize opportunities and to adapt to the market as quickly as possible (Picken 2017; Takeuchi and Nonaka 1986). However, scholars have predominantly focused on external communication, taking agile internal communication for granted. This paper analyzes the combinations of conditions (i.e., firm features and communication devices) that are present in startups with agile internal communication. The study considers the startup’s life cycle, the size of the startup, and the size of the founding team. The use of direct communication channels, structured communication channels, and agile methods is also considered. Analysis of 88 Spanish startups shows that the size of the founding team influences the combination of present and absent communication methods when agile internal communication is present. In startups where the founding team is small, direct communication methods are absent, whereas the use of structured communication methods, online project management, and other communication tools is present. On the contrary, when the founding team size is large, direct communication is a core condition, as is the absence of structured communication methods. Agile methods represent a peripheral condition for the presence of agile internal communication when the founding team is small and structured communication is present as a core condition. Similarly, when the founding team is small and the presence of direct communication is a core condition, the presence of agile methods is a peripheral condition for the presence of agile internal communication.

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  1. For more information, visit https://startupxplore.com.

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Acknowledgments

The authors thank the Cátedra de Empresa y Humanismo de la Universidad de Valencia (Firm & Humanism Chair, Valencia University) for its financial support for this research.

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Correspondence to Tomás F. González-Cruz.

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González-Cruz, T.F., Botella-Carrubi, D. & Martínez-Fuentes, C.M. The effect of firm complexity and founding team size on agile internal communication in startups. Int Entrep Manag J 16, 1101–1121 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11365-019-00633-1

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