Lecture Series

Lecture Series

CSES Lecture Series: Howard Aldrich, UNC at Chapel Hill

Everyone an Entrepreneur? Recognizing the Gap between the Veneration of Entrepreneurship and the Reality of Its Costs

Please join us for our next CSES Lecture Series on October 31st, 2013 at Cornell University from 4:30 to 6PM in the Physical Sciences Building 401. Howard Aldrich will present his research “Everyone an Entrepreneur? Recognizing the Gap between the Veneration of Entrepreneurship and the Reality of Its Costs.”


Entrepreneurship enjoys widespread appeal in nearly all capitalist nations, but start-up success has proved elusive for most entrepreneurs. In a paper published in the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal in 2012, Tiantian Yang and I explained the low likelihood of entrepreneurial success by focusing on the contrast between organizational forms in terms of cultural codes that tap into widely held perceptions versus organizational forms in terms of blueprints that sustain effective guidance for organizational activities. In our Journal of Business Venturing article on estimating the liability of newness, also published in 2012, Yang and I argued that most studies of nascent entrepreneurs actually understate the magnitude of the problem facing newly organized ventures. The dilemma facing nascent entrepreneurs during their life course is the incomplete and fragmentary nature of these opportunities for learning about start-up practices. I conclude by offering suggestions, based on paper published in the Journal of Evolutionary Economics this year, for further research to discover what entrepreneurs actually do during the start-up.


Howard Aldrich is Professor & Department Chair, Sociology, and Adjunct Professor of Management in the Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Dr. Aldrich research focuses on entrepreneurship, the origins of new organizational populations, gender differences in business management and organizational evolution. Among his research projects is a study of the process by which entrepreneurial teams are founded, and it focuses on similarity and differences between team members. He also is examining the contributions made by voluntary association membership to entrepreneurial success, as well as how to design courses and classroom activities to promote active learning. Dr. Aldrich won the Carlyle Sitterson Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2002. In 2000, the Swedish Foundation of Small Business Research named him the Entrepreneurship Researcher of the Year and the Organization and Management Division of the Academy of Management presented him with a Distinguished Career of Scholarly Achievement award. His book, “Organizations Evolving”, won the Academy of Management George Terry Award as the best management book published in 1998-99, and was co-winner of the Max Weber Award from the American Sociological Association’s Section on Organizations, Occupations and Work.

citation engraving
“[T]he challenge is to specify and explicate the social mechanisms determining the relationship between the informal social organization of close-knit groups and the formal rules of institutional structures.”— Victor Nee