The dynamics of new firm reconfiguration: patterns and effects

  • Alessandro Lucini Paioni

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This dissertation studies how reconfiguration influences new firms’ performance, analysing the process by which new firms change their structure. The concept of reconfiguration has been recently developed by strategy scholars to investigate how organisations alter their structure and, jointly, their resource base, and what consequences this implies (Karim and Capron, 2016). While scholars have investigated reconfiguration as a means for established companies to adapt to changing competitive environments, achieve new synergies, and improve their performance, little is known about the process of resource reconfiguration in newly established firms. New firms do also face pressures and incentives to reconfigure (Karim, 2006), and can exploit it as a means to mould organisations better able to identify and exploit new opportunities (Rindova and Kotha, 2001; Ries, 2011). Reconfiguration is therefore the discrete outcome of a process of learning and strategic, purposeful change, through which new firms can actively shape their development path (Kirtley and O'Mahony, 2020). This thesis is structured as a portfolio of three research papers. The first paper focuses on the first reconfiguration event new firms undertake, examining its timing and implications for survival. Results show that while new firms reconfiguring benefit from a survival premium, those doing so earlier after entry face a higher risk of exit compared to firms reconfiguring later on. These findings remain consistent when reconfiguration is ‘unpacked’ into its composing events (namely reorientation, divestiture, acquisitions, and restructuring). The second study considers whether the process of reconfiguration, once initiated, unfolds through sequences and regular patterns of events. It shows that while most firms reconfigure through a unique event, those that rely on multiple events follow very diversified patterns, characterised by key combinations of events. Finally, the third research paper replicates and extends the seminal paper from Lockett, Wiklund, Davidsson, and Girma (2011), investigating whether a specific form of reconfiguration, i.e. acquisition, exerts a revitalising effect on subsequent organic employment growth. Results indicate that while past organic growth exerts a restraining effect on future organic growth, acquisitive growth can sustain it only if targeting complementary over related resources. Overall, this thesis shows how new firms reconfigure after entry to improve their performance.
Date of Award22 Jun 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorOrietta Marsili (Supervisor) & Panos Desyllas (Supervisor)

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