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School of Business | Department of Management Studies | International Design Business Management (IDBM) | 2015
Thesis number: 14108
Expanding entrepreneurial teams in design driven Finnish startups: challenges and opportunities
Author: Granö, Linda
Title: Expanding entrepreneurial teams in design driven Finnish startups: challenges and opportunities
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management Studies
Academic subject: International Design Business Management (IDBM)
Index terms: design management; design management; yritykset; companies; kasvu; growth; tiimit; teams; osaaminen; competence
Pages: 74
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_14108.pdf pdf  size:2 MB (1165725)
Key terms: new member addition, team expansion, design entrepreneurship, design intensive startup

The purpose of this study is to explore challenges and opportunities of Finnish design driven startups expanding the entrepreneurial team. Key people from four design driven ventures in the capital area of Helsinki were interviewed to determine success factors in their process of adding new team members.

The study looks into characteristics of entrepreneurs in general versus design entrepreneurs as well as required skillsets of team members. The reasoning of design entrepreneurs when hiring new team members are divided into two categories: resource-seeking behavior and the manifestation of interpersonal attraction.


The theoretical part of the study is based on the existing body of knowledge available in literature on general entrepreneurial traits, design entrepreneurs and team skillsets required for a successful venture. A qualitative research approach was selected as the research method for this study. The empirical part of the research was conducted as a case study and explores the hiring process in four design driven startups through semi-structured interviews.


The case study found that new members were assessed according to functional skills, social capital and interpersonal compatibility; interpersonal attraction or chemistry was found to weigh more heavily. The key findings of this study are the essential role that networks and intuition have in design entrepreneurial team expansion. One of the findings of this study was the importance of internships and mentorships used to both temporarily alleviate pressure on the current team and to identify new members with an excellent fit to the company in terms of skills and personality. Furthermore there is a limited amount of understanding and prior knowledge about new member addition processes in design entrepreneurial teams.
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