Amrita and coauthors suggest to acquire resources, new tech firms must evolve in each stage of their organizational life cycle and be seen as legitimate by investors and partners.

Amrita Lahiri Earns Research Impact Award

By Eric Hollenbeck

Amrita Lahiri

Amrita Lahiri, assistant professor of entrepreneurship in the Carson College of Business, was recently named corecipient of the 2022 Helena Yli-Renko Research Impact Award from the Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business.

The annual award recognizes one paper per year deemed “most influential” by appearing in a top-tier journal and receiving the highest number of citations in the five-year period following publication. Impact is measured by the Social Sciences Citation Index, an interdisciplinary citation database that includes more than 3,400 journals from more than 50 social science disciplines.

“It is a privilege to receive this award. We were fortunate to get supportive editors and reviewers who not only recognized our paper’s potential but also greatly helped us improve its ability to have an impact in shaping future work,” says Lahiri.

The paper, titled “Changing with the Times: An Integrated View of Identity, Legitimacy, and New Venture Life Cycles,” examines what the authors call the “liability of newness.” The term refers to the challenges new entrepreneurial ventures face in regards to acquiring resources, and how they must evolve in each stage of their organizational life cycles: conception, commercialization, growth, and stability.

The authors conclude that in order for new tech firms to acquire resources, investors and other partners must view them as legitimate. Ventures can earn legitimacy, in part, by aligning with audience expectations at each life cycle stage.

“As such, entrepreneurs should recognize that a venture’s identity must evolve over time; they should be prepared to layer on additional identity elements while striving to retain valuable and important elements of current identity,” the authors write. “The idea here is to show that entrepreneurial ventures not only have to attain legitimacy, but also actively manage it to grow and get established.”

The award-winning paper was published in 2016 in the Academy of Management Review and coauthored by Suresh Kotha, professor of management at the University of Washington and Greg Fisher, associate professor of entrepreneurship at Indiana University. Lahiri and Fisher were doctoral students at UW when the project began.