Document Type

Research Article


Purpose – Drawing from legitimacy 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.

Originalisty/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 startups, 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.



Creative Commons License

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



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