Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-29-2022

Abstract

Purpose

Drawing from legitimacy and institutional entrepreneurship theory, this study assesses the naming patterns of entrepreneurial firms in the US biotechnology industry.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use a mixed-methods design of content analysis and regression to analyze a sample of 441 entrepreneurial biotechnology firms, for which data were obtained from Net Advantage. The authors track changes to the proportion of firms with naming attributes, such as name length and type of name. The authors also examine variability in those characteristics during the industry's evolution, comparing freestanding to acquired start-ups.

Findings

Start-ups select names that are longer, more descriptive, begin with rare sounds or hard plosives and have stronger discipline- or technology-specific links during nascent years of the industry. As the industry evolves, entrepreneurs are more likely to select names that are shorter, more abstract, begin with hard plosives and have stronger industry-specific links. The naming patterns of freestanding and acquired companies differ, and companies that conform to industry pressures tend to remain independent.

Originality/value

Unlike extant studies that assess established industries, the current study identifies shifting trends in the naming patterns of entrepreneurial firms in an emerging industry. By focusing on start-ups, the authors expand research on organizational naming practices, which focuses traditionally on name choices and name change patterns of incumbents. By using marketing and linguistics methods when analyzing organizational name attributes, naming patterns in these attributes are identified, including name length, name type, starting letter of the name and link to the industry.

Comments

This article was originally published in New England Journal of Entrepreneurship in 2022. https://doi.org/10.1108/NEJE-09-2021-0057

Peer Reviewed

1

Copyright

The authors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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