This research consisted of two surveys. The first was an exploratory study of 410 new ventures (less than 10 years old) from which 76 usable responses (19%) were returned. Companies were identified from 7 publicly available directories, and stratified on three technology categories of industry; primary, secondary, and tertiary (Buckley & Brooke, 1992). Primary industries included basic agriculture, extraction, and mining; secondary were manufacturing; and tertiary was the service sector. The sample frame for the second survey was identical to the first, and lists were derived from trade associations. We mailed to a total of 1179 businesses. In the primary sector 189 surveys were sent to the Farm Equipment and Irrigation Associations. In the secondary sector, we mailed 497 surveys, 128 to the Poultry Processing Association and 369 to the Barb-b-que Association. In the tertiary group we mailed to 493 Financial Service Consultants. Fifty were returned as bad addresses, bringing our total sample size to 1129.
Each company first was contacted by telephone, then a survey was mailed, and within 2 weeks a follow-up questionnaire was mailed. Eight weeks later, a second survey was mailed along with another follow-up postcard. The overall response rate to date is 18 %, with a high of 21% for both Farm Equipment and Poultry and low of 13% for financial services, which is explained due to participation constraints set by the association restricting mailing to only one survey with no phone or mail follow-up. Data collection is still in process and this study is part of an ongoing research agenda. The analysis herein used data from the initial survey, the Financial Management Trade Association, and the Farm Equipment and Poultry Association. The combined samples yielded an analysis set of 152 respondents. T-tests were conducted to determine the appropriateness of pooling the data from the two surveys, and we found no significant differences between the two samples on key variables, including size of the firm as measured by 1994 sales, the age of the firm, and the gender of the respondent. We concluded both samples were representative of the same population.
Five point Likert Scales asking respondent to rate the favorabilities of their resources by types (1= highly unfavorable, 5= highly favorable) were used. Items were identified from previous studies of resources (Chandler & Hanks, 1994) and followed the resource typology proposed by Brush and Green (1996). Individual owner/founder items followed Cooper and Gimeno-Gascon (1992) and included gender, age and marital status, while company factors were comprised of age, size and industry sector. Items not originally coded into 5 point scales, human resource measures of experience, years in the firm and years in the business, were recoded to be used with other scaled measures. Human resources included years of education as well as various types of experiences and expertise. Social resources reflected personal networks and physical resources were up-to-date equipment and computer technologies, both being single item measures. Financial resources were access to debt, domestic profits, and access to equity. Organizational resources included measures of organizational procedures and people. The resource measures were grouped by personal and company items, and tested as highly reliable, with alphas of .84 and .79 respectively.
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