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Founders' Birth order and Triple Bottom Line in B2B SMEs

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Saurabh BhattacharyaORCiD


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Leveraging evolutionary theory logic on birth order (Campbell et al., 2019), in this study, we propose to explore the influence of the founder’s birth order in the family on a firm’s triple bottom line management. Conducting our study in the B2B market and SME context, we assert that younger children tend to get less parental investment than older children, where older children care for younger siblings (Whiteman et al., 2011). Consequently, the eldest sibling tends to adopt more prosocial behaviors than younger siblings. Younger siblings, on the contrary, to get parental attention, tend to become more competitive (Wadhwa et al., 2009). When these individuals become entrepreneurs, their values are reflected in the firm’s organizational culture and the strategic choices these founders make. Driven by the prosocial tendencies of elder siblings, when an elder sibling founds firm, it tends to become more stakeholder-oriented over time (Bhattacharya and Faizaki, 2021). However, when the founder is a younger sibling, driven by their competitiveness, firms tend to become more competitive-oriented (Perry and Shao, 2005). When elder sibling founders show concern towards multiple stakeholders, they emphasize the environment and society, even if financial performance suffers. Younger sibling founders, on the contrary, driven by competitiveness, tend to focus more on financial performance (Shams and Vrontis, 2021) and do not show any concern for the planet or society. We thus suggest a mediating mechanism of competitor and stakeholder orientation for sibling birth order and triple bottom line management. We further suggest moderating the effect of institutional pressure on competitor orientation (Kropp and Totzek, 2020) and the triple bottom line relationship, such that when perceived institutional pressure for the environment and societal concern is high, the influence of competitive orientation on triple bottom line decreases. As the interdisciplinary stream of research is increasing in marketing (Grewal et al., 2020), we contribute to B2B marketing literature, where such interdisciplinary exploration of phenomena remains scant.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Agnihotri A, Bhattacharya S

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: The 15th Annual Euromed Academy of Business (EMAB) Conference: Sustainable Business Concepts and Practices

Year of Conference: 2023

Online publication date: 21/09/2022

Acceptance date: 22/06/2022