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Personality traits of entrepreneurial top management team members and new venture performance.

Entrepreneurship is considered to be the key to social and economic prosperity (Brandstatter, 2011), and this has initiated studies on the antecedents (e.g., chief executive officer's and top management team's personality) of firms' performance (Nadkarni & Herrmann, 2010). Research findings have confirmed that the entrepreneurial top management team (TMT) takes more responsibility in terms of risk, pressure, and creativity than do chief executives (Colbert, Barrick, & Bradley, 2014). Especially for start-up companies in the field of high technology, whether the entrepreneurial team can compete with existing similar companies after entering the market and ultimately achieve commercial success is inseparable from an efficient TMT (Bjornali, Knockaert, & Erikson, 2016). Therefore, it is necessary to clarify the mechanism by which the entrepreneurial TMT affects new venture performance (NVP).

According to the upper echelon theory, organizational performance reflects the characteristics and behavior of the TMT (Hambrick & Mason, 1984), and scholars are increasingly concerned about the impact of TMT demographic characteristics on organizational performance (Buyl, Boone, Hendriks, & Matthyssens, 2011; Colbert et al., 2014). Therefore, personality traits contribute to certain behaviors of entrepreneurs that lead to differences in how well they perform (de Jong, Song, & Song, 2013). In general, most analysts believe that, in the context of the Big Five personality traits, compared to nonentrepreneur managers, entrepreneurs typically score higher on the personality traits of conscientiousness and openness to experience (Brandstatter, 2011) and lower on agreeableness and neuroticism (Zhao, Seibert, & Lumpkin, 2009). However, most studies of entrepreneurial personality have been conducted at the individual level, and in only a few has the focus been at the level of the entrepreneurial TMT. For example, de Jong et al. (2013) explored how task and relationship conflict in the founding top management team mediate the effect of lead founder personality on new venture performance, and proposed that openness and neuroticism exert a direct impact on new venture performance, in addition to their indirect impact through task and relationship conflict.

Although the importance of personality in building new ventures has been established in research, there are still many details to be learned about its inner workings. The impacts of personality on NVP are mediated by several variables, such as shared leadership (Ensley, Hmieleski, & Pearce, 2006), team conflict (de Jong et al., 2013), and environmental dynamism (Hmieleski & Ensley, 2007). Few studies have been conducted in which the impacts of knowledge integration and of a transformational leadership style of the TMT on entrepreneurial performance have been examined.

According to resource-based theory, knowledge is an indispensable resource for new ventures to realize product and technological innovation (Grant, 1996; Tsai, Liao, & Hsu, 2015; Zahra, 2015). When entrepreneurs realize that entrepreneurial knowledge cannot translate into success in the market unless it is integrated, they will build new businesses to integrate entrepreneurial knowledge and seize opportunities (Alvarez & Busenitz, 2001). Specifically, by integrating entrepreneurial knowledge with other knowledge from the market, such as technology, customers, and products, entrepreneurs can discover and utilize opportunities to capture and allocate resources effectively, further developing their competitive advantage (Patel & Fiet, 2011). Moreover, as the founder and maintainer of a new venture, the leadership of the entrepreneurial TMT directly impacts NVP (de Jong et al., 2013). Previous researchers have affirmed that a transformational leader can change the values of his or her subordinates, motivate employees to challenge existing values, and further help them achieve better performance (Bass & Avolio, 1989; Deinert, Homan, Boer, Voelpel, & Gutermann, 2015). However, whether and/or how the entrepreneurial TMT leader's transformational leadership style impacts on the relationship between TMT personality and NVP needs further study.

Therefore, in this research, we conducted an empirical study to analyze how the personality traits of entrepreneurs' TMT affect NVP, while considering knowledge integration as a mediator and transformational leadership as a moderator.

Theoretical Background and Hypotheses

Personality Traits and New Venture Performance

The literature on personality composition varies widely. In this study, we adopted the five-factor model, in which personality includes the traits of extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience (Goldberg, 1993; McCrae & John, 1992). Each of these five aspects of personality has different effects on NVP.

Extraversion refers to sociability and the tendency to experience positive emotions such as joy and pleasure (Costa & McCrae, 1992). Entrepreneurs with high extraversion will prompt information communication, engage in social networking (Do & Minbashian, 2014), enjoy change (Bono & Judge, 2004), and try innovative activities, which is beneficial to the entrepreneurial NVP. Individuals who are high in extraversion consistently tend to be dominant (McCrae & John, 1992), being gregarious and talkative (Costa & McCrae, 1992). Hence, their personality is well aligned with the demands of an executive position (Blickle et al., 2015), and extraversion is related positively to leadership efficacy (Do & Minbashian, 2014).

Agreeableness involves a humane aspect of humanity (McCrae & John, 1992). Individuals high in agreeableness are characterized by altruism and patience. They are sympathetic, caring, and trustworthy (Costa & McCrae, 1992). Therefore, as individuals who are agreeable consider other people (Bono & Judge, 2004), leaders who are friendly with their subordinates can be seen as role models, which is good for meeting the interests of team members, such as their work needs and career development (de Jong et al., 2013). However, when faced with disagreement, the characteristics of sociability and solicitude tend to make managers who are high in agreeableness compromise rather than adhere to their own innovation strategies. Therefore, agreeableness seems to be constructive for teams in the smooth development stage from ideas to actual business projects. In a corporate team in which the focus is on timely innovation and in which a reform strategy is adopted to address risk, agreeableness of TMT leaders may lead to a reduction of innovation in an NVP.

Conscientiousness involves meticulousness, responsibility, organization, and diligence (Costa & McCrae, 1992). In other words, individuals high in this personality trait are constrained either by their own conscience or diligence (McCrae & John, 1992; Roberts, Lejuez, Krueger, Richards, & Hill, 2014). Leaders who are high in conscientiousness are achievement-oriented and tenacious (Van Ness & Seifert, 2016). They take the actions necessary to achieve their goals and motivate their employees to work hard (de Jong et al., 2013; McCrae & John, 1992). Zhao et al. (2009) confirmed that conscientiousness is positively related to entrepreneurial roles and NVP. Therefore, we proposed that this relationship would also apply to an entrepreneurial TMT. Moreover, a higher level of TMT conscientiousness may induce knowledge integration, as the high achievement orientation of conscientious leaders may motivate them to achieve effective information communication and knowledge exchange among their subordinates.

Neuroticism is the tendency of individuals to experience psychological distress in both cognitive and behavioral patterns (Costa & McCrae, 1992; McCrae & John, 1992). The individual with this trait has anxiety, self-pity, tension, sensitivity, instability, and worrying characteristics (McCrae & John, 1992). Leaders high in neuroticism tend to look at the world from a negative perspective (Bono & Judge, 2004). Therefore, they are not focused on taking on leadership responsibilities, but are easily strained and occupied by negative emotions, such as anxiety, hostility, and depression, which may hinder the entrepreneurial process. For top managers, a tendency to experience negative emotions may also infect the entrepreneurial team members, and may have a destructive effect on the application of their management power and the decisiveness of the TMT.

Openness to experience is the capacity of the individual to embrace creativity, show insight, and thoughtfulness (Judge & Bono, 2000). Individuals who are high in openness to experience are imaginative and intellectually curious (Zhao et al., 2009). They would question old assumptions, ignite new ideas (de Jong et al., 2013), and illuminate an attractive vision (Deinert et al., 2015), which helps them to think outside the box and deal with problems (Bono & Judge, 2004). Therefore, we argued that openness to experience of the TMT would be particularly relevant to an NVP.

Hypothesis 1: The entrepreneurial top management team's mean level of extraversion will be positively related to new venture performance.

Hypothesis 2: The entrepreneurial top management team's mean level of agreeableness will be positively related to new venture performance.

Hypothesis 3: The entrepreneurial top management team's mean level of conscientiousness will be positively related to new venture performance.

Hypothesis 4: The entrepreneurial top management team's mean level of neuroticism will be negatively related to new venture performance.

Hypothesis 5: The entrepreneurial top management team's mean level of openness to experience will be positively related to new venture performance.

Mediating Effect of Knowledge Integration

Knowledge integration can be defined as the synthesis of individual expertise with specific contextual system knowledge (Tsai et al., 2015). It constitutes the ability of teams and individuals in organizations to sense, interpret, and respond to new business opportunities and threats (Gardner, Gino, & Staats, 2012). New ventures need various resources to survive (Page West & Noel, 2009), and the importance of knowledge has been well recognized (Grant, 1996). Knowledge that individuals have is of little strategic or economic value unless it is integrated into a meaningful set of ideas (Zahra, 2015). Researchers have confirmed the impact of knowledge integration on business ventures' competitiveness and performance (Gardner et al., 2012). Because the combination and integration of knowledge is an intangible behavior that cannot be supervised or forced, knowledge integration is largely a voluntary and cooperative behavior requiring the participation of members to complete. As people with different personality traits differ in their willingness to integrate knowledge (Brandstatter, 2011), we thus believed that knowledge integration may mediate the relationship between entrepreneurial TMT's personality and NVP.

Hypothesis 6a: The relationship between the entrepreneurial top management team's extraversion and new venture performance will be mediated by knowledge integration.

Hypothesis 6b: The relationship between the entrepreneurial top management team's agreeableness and new venture performance will be mediated by knowledge integration.

Hypothesis 6c: The relationship between the entrepreneurial top management team's conscientiousness and new venture performance will be mediated by knowledge integration.

Hypothesis 6d: The relationship between the entrepreneurial top management team's neuroticism and new venture performance will be mediated by knowledge integration.

Hypothesis 6e: The relationship between the entrepreneurial top management team's openness to experience and new venture performance will be mediated by knowledge integration.

The Moderating Effect of Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership can be depicted as comprising four separate and interrelated parts, including idealized influence (encompassing behaviors that instill pride in followers for being associated with the leader), inspirational motivation (incorporating those who talk optimistically and articulate a compelling vision for the future), intellectual stimulation (seeking differing perspectives when solving problems), and individualized consideration (spending time coaching and teaching followers; Avolio & Bass, 1995; Bono & Judge, 2004). Previous researchers clearly articulated the positive significance of transformational leadership for organizational performance (Chen, Tang, Jin, Xie, & Li, 2014). Specifically, by raising the awareness of team members (Garcia-Morales, Jimenez-Barrionuevo, & Gutierrez-Gutierrez, 2012), transformational leaders inspire their followers to adopt the team's vision (Ensley, Pearce, & Hmieleski, 2006), further stimulating them to perform better (Garcia-Morales et al., 2012). In the early stages of a new venture, members of the TMT typically work together and communicate with each other. The leadership of TMT leaders has a significant impact on the expression of interest, knowledge sharing, and goal setting of the TMT members and the entire entrepreneurial team. As personality traits are unobservable constructs that purport to explain behavior (Herron & Robinson, 2005), we proposed that entrepreneurial TMT leaders' transformational leadership would moderate the relationship between the entrepreneurial TMT's personality and NVP.

Hypothesis 7a: The relationship between the entrepreneurial top management team's extraversion and new venture performance will be stronger when the transformational leadership of the team leader is high, compared to when it is low.

Hypothesis 7b: The relationship between the entrepreneurial top management team's agreeableness and new venture performance will be stronger when the transformational leadership of the team leader is high, compared to when it is low.

Hypothesis 7c: The relationship between the entrepreneurial top management team's conscientiousness and new venture performance will be stronger when the transformational leadership of the team leader is high, compared to when it is low.

Hypothesis 7d: The relationship between the entrepreneurial top management team's neuroticism and new venture performance will be stronger when the transformational leadership of the team leader is high, compared to when it is low.

Hypothesis 7e: The relationship between the entrepreneurial top management team's openness to experience and new venture performance will be stronger when the transformational leadership of the team leader is high, compared to when it is low.

Method

Sample and Procedure

The data in this study were collected by conducting a survey, which was completed by entrepreneurial TMT members (full survey) and TMT leaders (survey without the transformational leadership items) of new ventures in China's Optical Valley in the city of Wuhan, where the optoelectronics industry, the Internet technology industry, and other industries characterized by technology and innovation are based. We selected 192 entrepreneurial TMTs, most of which comprised from three to seven members, and the founders of the TMT were usually just one person. Respondents completed the survey on site, which helped us to access the target respondents, ensured proper use and understanding of the variables in the questionnaire, and provided assurance of a high response rate (Li & Zhang, 2007). We collected 837 survey forms, of which 682 were valid, with an effective response rate of 81%. Finally, the data of 156 entrepreneurial teams were valid.

Measures

The survey consisted of measures of personality, knowledge integration, transformational leadership, and performance of the enterprise. One researcher translated the measures from English to Chinese and a second researcher back-translated the Chinese versions into English. The two English versions were then compared and minor differences were resolved by the two translators. Items were all rated on a 7-point scale (1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree).

Personality. Personality was measured by the Ten-Item Personality Inventory (TIPI), developed by Gosling, Rentfrow, and Swann (2003). Sample items include "I see myself as: 1. extraverted, enthusiastic", and "I see myself as: 2. critical, quarrelsome" (reverse-scored). The five Cronbach's alpha for extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience for this scale were .840, .837, .839, .899, and .821 respectively.

New venture performance. Previous researchers mostly adopted objective measures of business performance (Hmieleski & Ensley, 2007). In the context of new ventures, it is often difficult to obtain and interpret objective indicators (Stam & Elfring, 2008). Furthermore, it is very difficult to collect organizational performance information in China, especially for newly created small and medium-sized enterprises that are not listed in the National Business Directory, and whose owners and operators are reluctant to disclose their own performance information. Therefore, in this study, we adopted a subjective measurement of NVP (de Jong et al., 2013; Li & Zhang, 2007). Sample items include "Our company has met our predefined level of sales growth," "Our company has met our predefined level of profitability." The Cronbach's alpha for this scale was .818.

Knowledge integration. We adopted the three-item scale developed by Collins & Smith (2006) to measure knowledge integration. Sample items include "Team members believe that by exchanging and combining knowledge they can move new projects or initiatives forward more quickly than by working alone." The Cronbach's alpha for this scale was .811.

Transformational leadership. We adopted a 20-item scale developed by Avolio, Bass, and Jung (1999) to measure transformational leadership. This scale contains four subscales of idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration. Sample items include "My leader instills pride in me for being associated with him/her," "My leader emphasizes the importance of having a collective sense of mission," "My leader reexamines critical assumptions to question whether they are appropriate," "My leader gives me individualized attention," adopted directly from Chen et al. (2014). The Cronbach's alpha for this scale was .913.

Exploratory Factor Analysis

We performed exploratory factor analysis of individual-level data using SPSS to test the reliability and validity of the scales adopted in this study (Collins & Smith, 2006). The result of the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin test for sampling adequacy = .854 and the result for Bartlett's test of sphericity was significant. Eleven factors with an eigenvalue greater than 1 were extracted, namely, the personality factors of extraversion (P1), agreeableness (P2), conscientiousness (P3), neuroticism (P4), openness to experience (P5); the transformational leadership factors of idealized influence (TL1), inspirational motivation (TL2), individualized consideration (TL3), intellectual stimulation (TL4), knowledge integration, and new venture performance. The cumulative variance interpretation rate was 70.590%, with the first common factor extracted by exploratory factor analysis explaining only 23.001% of the total variance.

Confirmatory Factor Analysis

We performed a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) by Amos, applying the indices of adjusted goodness of fit (AGFI) and comparative fit (CFI), and calculating root mean square residual (RMR) and root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA). As we collected 156 team samples, we divided the variables into two models for the analysis. We first performed a first-order CFA on transformational leadership, but it did not fit well ([chi square]/df = 4.445, p < .01, AGFI = .059, CFI = .838, RMR = .016, RMSEA = .149). In Model 1 we performed a second-order CFA of transformational leadership. There were strong correlations between the four variables in the four-factor model (.871 for TL1 and TL2, .826 for TL1 and TL3, .882 for TL1 and TL4, .840 for TL2 and TL3, .846 for TL2 and TL4, .823 for TL3 and TL4). Then we performed a second-order CFA of transformational leadership calculating average variance extracted (AVE) and composite reliability (CR), and the results showed that AVE > 0.5 (TL = 0.849, TL1 = 0.720, TL2 = 0.837, TL3 = 0.804, TL4 = 0.760), the CR > 0.6 (TL = 0.957, TL1 = 0.928, TL2 = 0.962, TL3 = 0.954, TL4 = 0.940), which yielded a good fit ([chi square]/df = 1.734, p < .01, AGFI = .808, CFI =. 966, RMR = .009, RMSEA = .069). In summary, we believe that the factor structure of TL has passed the test that a relationship between the observed variables and their underlying latent constructs exists. In Model 2 the results for the two factors, knowledge integration (KI) and NVP, were AVE > 0.5 (KI = 0.688, NVP = 0.784) and CR > 0.6 (KI = 0.898, NVP = 0.916), which yielded a good fit ([chi square]/df = 2.376, p < .01, AGFI = .885, CFI = .976, RMR = .011, RMSEA = .094). These results also support the discriminant validity of the scales in this study.

Data Aggregation Test

This study was conducted at team level, but the data were collected at individual level. Therefore we examined the appropriateness of aggregating individual-level data to the team level. We examined interrater reliability coefficients (James, Demaree, & Wolf, 1993), intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC [1]), and reliability of the mean (ICC [2]) of seven variables. The results showed that [r.sub.wg] values (P1 = .883; P2 = .818; P3 = .902; P4 = .869; P5 = .890; TL = .899; KI = .898; NVP = .886) were greater than the conventional threshold of .70 (James et al., 1993). ICC [1] values ranged from .259 to .409, which were above the ideal of .20. The ICC [2] values ranged from .604 to .751, which were above the ideal of .47. Therefore, we averaged the responses across members within each TMT into team level.

Results

Table 1 shows the means, standard deviations, and correlations of the study variables at team level. Alpha coefficients at team level are reported in parentheses on the diagonal.

Main effect test. In Table 2, the results in Model 2 show that extraversion (P1) had a significant effect on NVP which supported H1. Similarly, we concluded from Models 5, 8, 11, and 14 that agreeableness (P2), conscientiousness (P3), and openness to experience (P5), respectively, each had a significant effect on NVP. The regression result of neuroticism (P4) was not significant, thus H2, H3 and H5 were supported, but H4 was not.

Based on the procedure set out by Baron and Kenny (1986), we tested the mediating effect of knowledge integration on the relationship between entrepreneurial TMT's personality and NVP. The regression results are shown in Table 3. From Models 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, extraversion (P1), agreeableness (P2), conscientiousness (P3), and openness to experience (P5), respectively, were positively related with knowledge integration. As the result for neuroticism (P4) was nonsignificant, H6d was not supported. As Model 8 result indicated that knowledge integration was positively related with NVP, H6 was supported. According to Models 9, 11, 13, and 17, four independent variables of extraversion (P1), agreeableness (P2), conscientiousness (P3), and openness to experience (P5) had significant correlations with NVP, and the relationship between neuroticism (P4) and NVP was nonsignificant. Model 10 showed that after introducing KI, the effect of extraversion (P1) on NVP was reduced, and the regression coefficient was reduced. This proves that KI acts as a partial mediator between extraversion and NVP, thus H6a was supported. Model 12 showed that after introducing KI, the relationship between agreeableness (P2) and NVP was nonsignificant, indicating that KI fully mediated the relationship between agreeableness and NVP. Thus, H6b was supported. As Model 14 indicated that KI has a partial mediating effect on the relationship between conscientiousness (P3) and NVP, H6c was supported. Model 18 showed that KI had a partial mediating effect on the relationship between openness to experience (P5) and NVP, which supported H6e.

We further tested all mediation hypotheses using Preacher and Hayes' (2004) Process macro in SPSS, calculating a confidence interval (CI) of 95% Specifically, the indirect effect of extraversion (P1) on NVP through knowledge integration was 0.109, CI[0.041, 0.213], supporting H6a. The indirect effect of agreeableness (P2) on NVP through knowledge integration was 0.062, CI[0.013, 0.136], supporting H6b. Further, the indirect effect of conscientiousness (P3) on NVP through knowledge integration was 0.078, CI[0.025, 0.162], supporting H6c. Yet the indirect effect of neuroticism (P4) on NVP through knowledge integration was 0.055, CI[-0.049, 0.249], which failed to support H6d. Finally, the indirect effect of openness to experience (P5) on NVP through knowledge integration was 0.100, CI[0.038, 0.189], supporting H6e. Together, results of indirect effect tests were consistent with our regression analyses.

The aim in the moderating-effect test in this study was to analyze the impact of entrepreneurial TMT leaders' transformational leadership on the relationship between entrepreneurial TMT's personality and NVP (See Figure 2). According to the moderated multiple regression model devised by Aiken and West (1991), we examined Hypotheses 7a, 7b, 7c, 7d, and 7e. In Table 2, Model 1 was a test of the influence of control variables, In Models 2 to 4 the independent variable, moderating variable and interaction item were introduced into the regression equation step by step. In Models 5 to 8, Models 9 to 12, and Models 13 to 16 the same steps were followed. The regression results in Models 4, 10, and 16 were statistically significant. The stronger the transformational leadership of the entrepreneurial TMT leader, the stronger the relationships between extraversion, conscientiousness, openness to experience and NVP. Therefore, Hypotheses 7a, 7c, and 7e were supported. The regression results in Model 7 and Model 13 were not statistically significant. Thus, stronger transformational leadership of the entrepreneurial TMT leader did not relate to stronger relationships of either agreeableness or neuroticism with NVP, which failed to support H7b and H7d, respectively. In Figure 2 the moderating effect of transformational leadership is depicted.

Discussion

The results of this study show that among the Big Five personality traits, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience of entrepreneurial TMTs, are significantly related to NVP, whereas neuroticism is not. It has previously been found that some individual personality traits affect entrepreneurial performance, and our results indicate that this can be extended to the entrepreneurial team level. Specifically, Do and Minbashian (2014) found that extraversion is positively related to job performance. Our results in the current study show that this relationship can also be verified at the entrepreneurial TMT level, that is, the extraversion of the entrepreneurial TMT members is positively correlated with the NVP. Second, Zhao et al. (2009) argue that there is no significant relationship between agreeableness and entrepreneurs. However, our analysis of the data in the current study supports the relationship between entrepreneurial TMT's agreeableness and NVP at the TMT level. People who score high on agreeableness are characterized by altruism (Costa & McCrae, 1992). Their focus on the interests of other members of the TMT helps create a collaborative team atmosphere that improves entrepreneurial performance. However, this standpoint needs further empirical testing. Third, previous researchers have found that conscientiousness is positively related to individual performance (Barrick & Mount, 1991; Zhao et al., 2009). Our results in this study show that this relationship can also be verified at the entrepreneurial TMT level, that is, the level of conscientiousness of the TMT is positively correlated with NVP. Fourth, in previous studies it has been confirmed that neuroticism is negatively correlated with (Judge, Higgins, Thoresen, & Barrick, 1999), or unrelated to (Zhao & Seibert, 2006), entrepreneurial performance. However, in our study the results showed that the relationship between entrepreneurial TMT neuroticism and NVP was nonsignificant. Fifth, in addition, Zhao and Seibert (2006) argued that openness to experience of entrepreneurs is positively related to entrepreneurial performance. Our results verified that this relationship also applies at the entrepreneurial TMT level.

We also found that knowledge integration plays a partial mediating role in the relationships of entrepreneurial TMT's extraversion, conscientiousness, and openness to experience with NVP, and that knowledge integration plays a full mediating role in the relationship of entrepreneurial TMT's agreeableness with NVP. These findings are consistent with previous studies in which the importance of knowledge integration to team or organizational performance has been highlighted (Mehta & Mehta, 2018).

Our results further showed that the entrepreneurial TMT leader's transformational leadership plays a moderating role in the relationship of the entrepreneurial TMT's extraversion, conscientiousness, and openness to experience with NVP. New ventures are often small businesses dominated by the leader of the TMT, the extraversion of the entrepreneurial TMT is characterized by their seeking opportunities to interact with others (Costa & McCrae, 1992), the conscientiousness represents achievement orientation (de Jong et al., 2013; McCrae & John, 1992), and the openness to experience is articulated as perceptiveness and thoughtfulness (Judge & Bono, 2000), all of which are associated with NVP.

Implications

Through the explorations in this study, we made some theoretical contributions. First, we have filled a gap in the literature by extending the existing research on the relationship between entrepreneurial personality and NVP through an analysis of how the personality of the entrepreneurial TMT affects NVP. In the upper echelon theory the emphasis is on the importance of leader personality in organizational performance (Hambrick & Mason, 1984). In our study, the findings indicate that the levels of extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience of the entrepreneurial TMT have impacts on entrepreneurial performance.

Second, we explored the internal working mechanism of the relationship between the entrepreneurial TMT's personality and the performance of the venture by examining the mediating role of knowledge integration. In previous studies researchers have confirmed that when new ventures integrate their existing knowledge with the knowledge they acquire through external networks, and apply the integrated knowledge to corporate activities, they will enhance their market competitiveness (Gardner et al., 2012; Tsai et al., 2015). The results of our study demonstrate that the personality of the entrepreneurial TMT affects NVP by enhancing the ability of the team to integrate knowledge.

Third, we also contribute to entrepreneurial research by distinguishing the impact of TMT leaders and members. Entrepreneurship is a process involving changes both in the business situation and in the distribution of benefits to multiple stakeholders. As the initiator and maintainer of this activity, the lead founder of the entrepreneurial TMT must be able to coordinate the various interests involved in this process and gain more support than at present from team members.

There are also three implications for initiators and managers of new ventures in our research findings. First, the initiator of entrepreneurial activities should pay attention to the personality composition of the entrepreneurial TMT; second, in order to achieve better entrepreneurial performance, managers of new ventures should strengthen the internal knowledge integration of the venture team, and promote external knowledge absorption by establishing knowledge exchange rules; third, separating the lead founder from the entrepreneurial TMT role will contribute to better understanding the importance of TMT and its composition in entrepreneurial activities. The results of our study suggest that when the results of a measure of personality indicate that entrepreneurial TMT members are high in extraversion, high in conscientiousness, or high in openness to experience, the relationship between the TMT's personality and NVP will be moderated by the transformational leadership of the TMT leader. Therefore, in order to improve the entrepreneurial performance of the venture, managers in new ventures should strive to create an atmosphere in which employees are motivated to express their cares and their emotions, and should strive to promote employees' transition from low-level needs in Maslow's hierarchy of needs (Maslow, 1943) to high-level demands, namely, when their needs become respected by others or their self-worth is realized, the intrinsic motivation of their entrepreneurship will drive them to work as efficiently as possible.

Limitations and Future Research

In this study we confirmed some of our hypotheses, but some limitations need to be addressed in the future. First, the analysis in this study was based on data collected from new ventures in China's Optical Valley, which covers the optoelectronics industry, the Internet technology industry, and other industries characterized by technology and innovation, thus providing the possibility of yielding results specific only to those industries. Therefore, future researchers can further test the applicability of the conclusions of this study in other industries. Second, we explored only the moderating role of transformational leadership and the mediating role of knowledge integration. However, the performance of a new venture is sensitive to the entrepreneurial policy, the risk perception of the TMT, and various other factors, and the entrepreneurial TMT faces increasing competition, the need to coordinate relationships among stakeholders, and other complex problems. Therefore, future researchers should further examine and reveal the inner workings of the relationship between the entrepreneurial TMT personality and NVP. Third, because of the policy-oriented nature of entrepreneurial activities in China, the relationship between the entrepreneurial TMT personality and entrepreneurial performance may change with the adjustment of entrepreneurship policies. Therefore, future researchers can conduct comparative studies of this relationship under different entrepreneurial policies to explore whether this relationship changes with policy adjustments, thus further improving research in this field.

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (71672111, 71804056), Humanities and Social Sciences Research Project of the Ministry of Education of China (18YJC630250), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2018M642033), Hubei Provincial Technical Innovation Project (soft science research; 2018ADC052), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (CCNU17ZK09).

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Shengli Dai (1), Yingchun Li (1), Wei Zhang (2)

(1) School of Public Policy and Management, Central China Normal University, People's Republic of China

(2) School of Public Policy and Management, Central China Normal University, and Antai School of Economics and Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, People's Republic of China

How to cite: Dai, S., Li, Y., & Zhang, W. (2019). Personality traits of entrepreneurial top management team members and new venture performance. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 47(7), e8107

CORRESPONDENCE Wei Zhang, School of Public Policy and Management, Central China Normal University, Room 431, Gongguan Building, 152 Luoyu Road, Hongshan District, Wuhan, People's Republic of China, 430073. Email: zhangwei2017@mail.ccnu.edu.cn

https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.8107
Table 1. Means, Standard Deviations, and Correlations Among Study
Variables

Variables                    M      SD     1           2

Team size                    4.372  1.085  NA
Extraversion                 5.260  0.457  -.033       (.872)
Agreeableness                4.854  0.660   .098        .112
Conscientiousness            5.138  0.470  -.119        .357 (**)
Neuroticism                  4.546  0.942  -.078        .240 (**)
Openness to experience       5.298  0.622  -.235 (**)   .415 (**)
Transformational leadership  5.315  0.447  -.062        .491 (**)
Knowledge integration        5.355  0.494  -.145        .453 (**)
New venture performance      5.532  0.618  -.016        .429 (**)

Variables                    3           4           5

Team size
Extraversion
Agreeableness                (.826)
Conscientiousness             .289 (**)  (.887)
Neuroticism                   .351 (**)   .302 (**)  (.944)
Openness to experience        .231 (**)   .460 (**)  .242 (**)
Transformational leadership   .196 (*)    .253 (**)   .204 (*)
Knowledge integration         .152        .263 (**)   .158 (*)
New venture performance       .197 (*)    .382 (**)   .155

Variables                    6          7           8           9

Team size
Extraversion
Agreeableness
Conscientiousness
Neuroticism
Openness to experience       (.912)
Transformational leadership   .323 (**) (.977)
Knowledge integration         .365 (**)  .375 (**)  (.898)
New venture performance       .393 (**)  .476 (**)   .384 (**)  (.915)

Note. N = 156. Alpha coefficients are reported in parentheses on the
diagonal.
(**) p < .01, (*) p < .05.

Table 2. Moderating Role of Transformational Leadership

                                                      KI
                       M1     M2           M3         M4
                       (TS)   (TS & P1)    (TS & P2)  (TS & P3)

Controls
Team size              -.145  -.13         -.162 (*)  -.116
Independent variables
PI                             .449 (**)
P2                                          .168 (*)
P3                                                     .249 (**)
P4
P5
Moderator variables
KI
F                      3.324  21.849 (**)  3.948 (*)  6.852 (**)
[R.sup.2]               .021    .222        .049       .082
Adjust [R.sup.2]        .015    .212        .037       .070

                       M5         M6           M7      M8
                       (TS & P4)  (TS & P5)    (TS)    (TS & KI)

Controls
Team size              -.134       -.063        -.016    .015
Independent variables
PI
P2
P3
P4                      .148
P5                                  .350 (**)
Moderator variables
KI                                                       .423 (**)
F                      3.425 (*)  12.145 (**)    .039  16.470 (**)
[R.sup.2]               .043        .137         .000    .177
Adjust [R.sup.2]        .030        .126        -.006    .166

                                                            NVP
                       M9           M 10         M 11       M 12
                       (TS & P1)    (TS, P1      (TS & P2)  (TS, P2)
                                    &KI)                    &KI

Controls
Team size              -.002         .041         -.035       .024
Independent variables
PI                      .429 (**)    .108 (**)
P2                                                 .200 (*)   .139
P3
P4
P5
Moderator variables
KI                                    .101 (**)               .366 (**)
F                      17.232 (**)  15.138 (**)   3.184 (*) 10.200 (**)
[R.sup.2]               .184          .230         .040       .168
Adjust [R.sup.2]        .173          .215         .027       .151

                                                NVP
                       M 13         M 14         M 15       M 16
                       (TS & P3)    (TS, P3      (TS & P4)  (TS, P4
                                    &KI)                    &KI)

Controls
Team size                .030         .066        -.004     .046
Independent variables
PI
P2
P3                       .386 (**)    .308 (**)
P4                                                 .155      .100
P5
Moderator variables
KI                                    .313 (**)              .375 (**)
F                      13.165 (**)  15.705 (**)   1.893     9.5601 (**)
[R.sup.2]                .147         .237         .024      .159
Adjust [R.sup.2]         .136         .222         .011      .142

                               NVP
                       M 17         M 18
                       (TS & P5)    (TS, P5
                                    &KI)

Controls
Team size                .081         .099
Independent variables
PI
P2
P3
P4
P5                       .412 (**)    .312 (**)
Moderator variables
KI                                    .284 (**)
F                      14.635 (**)  15.165 (**)
[R.sup.2]                .161         .230
Adjust [R.sup.2]         .150         .215

Note. N = 156; TS = team size; P1 = extraversion; P2 = agreeableness;
P3 = conscientiousness; P4 = neuroticism; P5 = openness to experience;
TL = transformational leadership; NVP = new venture performance.
(**) p < .01; (*) p < .05.

Table 3. Mediating Role of Knowledge Integration

                                                      KI
                       M 1    M2           M3         M4
                       (TS)   (TS & P1)    (TS & P2)  (TS & P3)

Controls
Team size              -.145  -.13         -.162*     -.116
Independent variables
PI                             .449 (**)
P2                                          .168 (*)
P3                                                     .249 (**)
P4
P5
Moderator variables
KI
F                      3.324  21.849 (**)  3.948 (*)  6.852 (**)
[R.sup.2]               .021    .222        .049       .082
Adjust [R.sup.2]        .015    .212        .037       .070

                                        KI
                       M5         M6           M7     M8
                       (TS & P4)  (TS & P5)    (TS)   (TS & KI)

Controls
Team size              -.134       -.063       -.016     .015
Independent variables
PI
P2
P3
P4                      .148
P5                                  .350 (**)
Moderator variables
KI                                                       .423 (**)
F                      3.425 (*)  12.145 (**)   .039   16.470 (**)
[R.sup.2]               .043        .137        .000     .177
Adjust [R.sup.2]        .030        .126       -.006     .166

                                        KI
                       M9            M 10         M 11
                       (TS & P1)     (TS, P1      (TS & P2)
                                     &KI)

Controls
Team size                -.002         .041       -.035
Independent variables
PI                        .429 (**)    .108 (**)
P2                                                 .200 (*)
P3
P4
P5
Moderator variables
KI                                     .101 (**)
F                       17.232 (**)  15.138 (**)  3.184 (*)
[R.sup.2]                 .184         .230        .040
Adjust [R.sup.2]          .173         .215        .027

                              NVP
                       M 12         M 13         M14          M15
                       (TS, P2)     (TS & P3)    (TS, P3      (TS & P4)
                       &KI                       &KI)

Controls
Team size                .024         .030         .066       -.004
Independent variables
PI
P2                       .139
P3                                    .386 (**)    .308 (**)
P4                                                             .155
P5
Moderator variables
KI                       .366 (**)                 .313 (**)
F                      10.200 (**)  13.165 (**)  15.705 (**)  1.893
[R.sup.2]                .168         .147         .237         .024
Adjust [R.sup.2]         .151         .136         .222         .011

                              NVP
                       M16          M17          M18
                       (TS, P4      (TS & P5)    (TS, P5
                       &KI)                      &KI)

Controls
Team size               .046          .081         .099
Independent variables
PI
P2
P3
P4                      .100
P5                                    .412 (**)    .312 (**)
Moderator variables
KI                      .375 (**)                  .284 (**)
F                      9.5601 (**)  14.635 (**)  15.165 (**)
[R.sup.2]               .159          .161         .230
Adjust [R.sup.2]        .142          .150         .215

Note. N = 156; M = model; TS = team size; P1 = extraversion; P2 =
agreeableness; P3 = conscientiousness; P4 = neuroticism; P5 = openness
to experience; KI = knowledge integration; NVP = new venture
performance. (**) p < .01; (*) p < .05.
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Author:Dai, Shengli; Li, Yingchun; Zhang, Wei
Publication:Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal
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Date:Jul 1, 2019
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