Firms in Financial Distress Are Unintentionally Driving Entrepreneurship, says Research from Columbia Business School
The research, titled Destructive Creation at Work: How Financial Distress Spurs Entrepreneurship, explains the factors that make workers leave stable employment for entrepreneurship.
“During times of economic stress, companies are more vulnerable and make financing decisions that employees don’t always agree with,” says author of the research Tetyana Babina, Assistant Professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia Business School. “Decisions like these have the potential to encourage employees to leave their jobs and start their own companies.”
The study, which used U.S. Census employer-employee matched data, finds that companies’ financing decisions have direct impact on employees, which is an important but largely overlooked effect of firm financial leverage. During times of financial distress, firms engage in more risk-averse behavior and are not likely to take part in risky-yet profitable project ideas. Subsequently, the high-quality employees who had wanted to pursue the project leave the firm to develop the idea on their own.
These same financing decisions have profound affects on human capital decisions: the firm wants to retain its employees, so it avoids making potentially risky financial decisions, yet that same decision to avoid risk leads to the likelihood of those workers to leave.
“It’s important to understand factors that may drive an employee to leave a stable, paid job for an uncertain, start-up dream,” says Babina. These new entrepreneurs point to their previous employers’ corporate choices as playing a large role in that decision, according to the research. Babina says many successful start-ups are founded by people who have left paid employment, citing a statistic from Amir Bidhe that finds nearly 70 percent of employees who left jobs to create a start-up got their ideas while they were employed elsewhere.
To learn more about the cutting-edge research being conducted at Columbia Business School, please visit www.gsb.columbia.edu.
About Columbia Business School
Columbia Business School is the only world–class, Ivy League business school that delivers a learning experience where academic excellence meets with real–time exposure to the pulse of global business. Led by Dean Glenn Hubbard, the School’s transformative curriculum bridges academic theory with unparalleled exposure to real–world business practice, equipping students with an entrepreneurial mindset that allows them to recognize, capture, and create opportunity in any business environment. The thought leadership of the School’s faculty and staff, combined with the accomplishments of its distinguished alumni and position in the center of global business, means that the School’s efforts have an immediate, measurable impact on the forces shaping business every day. To learn more about Columbia Business School’s position at the very center of business, please visit www.gsb.columbia.edu.
About the researcher
Professor Tania Babina joined the Columbia Business School in 2016. She received a Ph.D. from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North...Read more.