Entrepreneurial ecosystems play a key role in the development of startups not only by providing support—such as flexible office space and access to skilled employees, mentors, and investors—but moreover by promoting concrete ideals about “good” entrepreneurship. However, we know less about the role that ecosystems play in managerial practices of startups. In our empirical analysis of management control systems (MCSs) in earliest-stage startups, we witness a strong influence of entrepreneurial ideals—above all, the Lean Startup philosophy—on the MCSs analyzed. Building on cross-sectional field study data resulting from a comprehensive field-immersion strategy and 50 interviews with key actors in an entrepreneurial ecosystem as well as with founder-managers of startups, we consider the entrepreneurial ecosystem as a collective meso-level community that mediates between macro-level institutional pressures and micro-level practices of startups. We show how this community, through a variety of what we term amplifying mechanisms, actively deinstitutionalizes a legacy entrepreneurial philosophy epitomized by the business plan concept. At the same time, the community propagates the Lean Startup philosophy so that this alternative has become the dominant institutional philosophy in the studied ecosystem and its startups. Due to the amplifying mechanisms exerted by the meso level, startups use MCSs that play a crucial role in the rapid experimentation and learning process toward finding a scalable business model that is characteristic of the Lean Startup philosophy. We highlight that this philosophy of scientific experimentation has, to a significant degree, transformed intuitive entrepreneurial processes into a set of transactions that can be steered and accelerated by MCSs.
BECKER, S.D. et ENDENICH, C. (2023). Entrepreneurial Ecosystems as Amplifiers of the Lean Startup Philosophy: Management Control Practices in Earliest-Stage Startups. Contemporary Accounting Research, 40(1), pp. 624-667.