Bio


My research focuses on the influence of the external environment on entrepreneurship. Specifically, I investigate the types of environments that encourage the founding of high growth, technology-based firms. Although I build on previous literature that explains why entrepreneurs are successful on the basis of individual characteristics, network ties, and strategy, my major contribution is to demonstrate that institutions matter. I show that effective institutional change influences who starts firms, not just how many firms are started.

Studying the implications of institutional change for entrepreneurship is difficult because it requires that institutions vary while other aspects of the environment remain constant. Thus, I have repeatedly studied entrepreneurship in a single country (China, Japan, and the U.S.) before and after a major institutional change that has intentionally or unintentionally altered the landscape for people who seek to found new firms.

My research is divided into three streams: (1) how formal institutions (policies, legal structures and regulations) influence entrepreneurship, (2) how informal institutions (accepted practices and norms) shape entrepreneurial opportunities, (3) how the environments of particular industries influence the success of entrepreneurial teams.

Academic Appointments


  • Assistant Professor, Management Science and Engineering

Honors & Awards


  • Technology and Innovation Management, IEEE International (2011)
  • Best Paper Proceedings, Academy of Management (2005, 2006, 2010, 2012)
  • Batten Institute Fellow, University of Virginia (UVA) Darden School of Business
  • Dissertation Fellowship Award, Kauffman Foundation (2007)
  • Best Dissertation Award Winner (Business Policy and Strategy Division), Academy of Management (2010)
  • Lillie Award, Stanford University (2011, 2012)
  • Research Fund for International Young Scientists, National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (2012)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Member, Academy of Management (2005 - Present)
  • Director, Startup Chile (2012 - Present)

Professional Education


  • PhD, MIT, Sloan School of Management (2009)
  • BS, Duke University, Biological Basis of Behavior (2002)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


My research focuses on the influence of the external environment on entrepreneurship. Specifically, I investigate the types of environments that encourage the founding of high growth, technology-based firms. Although I build on previous literature that explains why entrepreneurs are successful on the basis of individual characteristics, network ties, and strategy, my major contribution is to demonstrate that institutions matter. I show that effective institutional change influences who starts firms, not just how many firms are started.

Studying the implications of institutional change for entrepreneurship is difficult because it requires that institutions vary while other aspects of the environment remain constant. Thus, I have repeatedly studied entrepreneurship in a single country (China, Japan, and the U.S.) before and after a major institutional change that has intentionally or unintentionally altered the landscape for people who seek to found new firms.
My research is divided into three streams: (1) how formal institutions (policies, legal structures and regulations) influence entrepreneurship, (2) how informal institutions (accepted practices and norms) shape entrepreneurial opportunities, (3) how the environments of particular industries influence the success of entrepreneurial teams.

In 2012, I was winner of a prestigious and highly selective award from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) 2012 Research Fund for International Young Scientists. I also received the 2010 Best Dissertation Award in the Business Policy and Strategy Division of the Academy of Management and am recipient of the 2007 Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Dissertation Fellowship award. My work has been generously funded by Sequoia Capital, Sohu.com, the Kauffman Foundation, the MIT Entrepreneurship Center and Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP).

Prior to returning to school, I worked as a research assistant at the Duke University Medical Center, publishing in medical journals and textbooks on cognition in schizophrenia and fMRI neuro-imaging studies. In addition, I have founded three firms and worked in two venture capital firms, focusing on education and life sciences sectors.

2013-14 Courses


Journal Articles


  • Entrepreneurship Education Comes of Age on Campus: The Challenges and Rewards of Bringing Entrepreneurship to Higher Education Ewing Marion Kauffman Research Paper Torrance, Wendy, E. F., Rauch, J., Aulet, W., Blum, L., Burke, B., D'Ambrosio, T., Eesley, C. E.
  • Entrepreneurs from Technology-Based Universities: An Empirical First Look Hsu, D. H., Roberts, E. B., Eesley, C. E.
  • Failure is an Option: Failure Barriers and New Firm Performance Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University Working Paper No. 111 Eberhart, R., Eesley, Charles, E., Eisenhardt, Kathleen, M.
  • Firm Responses to Secondary Stakeholder Action Strategic Management Journal Eesley, Charles, E., Lenox, M. ; 27 (8): 765-782
  • Too Much of a Good Thing? Equity Market Reform, Investment, and New Firm Performance Eberhart, R. N., Eesley, C. E., Eisenhardt, K. M.
  • Secondary Stakeholder Actions and the Selection of Firm Targets Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University Working Paper No. 104 Eesley, Charles, E., Lenox, M.
  • Institutions and Innovation: A Literature Review of the Impact of Public R&D and Financial Institutions on Firm Innovation Eesley, Charles, E.
  • Institutional Flexibility and Training for Employment vs. Entrepreneurship?: Evidence from China Yang, D., Eesley, Charles, E., Tian, X., Roberts, Edward, B.
  • Impact: Stanford University's Economic Impact via Innovation and Entrepreneurship Eesley, Charles, E., Miller, William, F.
  • Flexibility in Prior Work Institutions and Entrepreneurship: Evidence from China Yang, D., Eesley, Charles, E., Yang, X.
  • Entrepreneurial Impact: The Role of MIT Roberts, Edward, B., Eesley, Charles, E.
  • Entrepreneurial Ideation and Organizational Performance: Imprinting Effects Eesley, Charles, E., Hsu, David, H., Roberts, Edward, B.
  • Does Institutional Change in Universities Influence High-Tech Entrepreneurship? Evidence from China’s Project 985 Eesley, Charles, E., Li, J. B., Yang, D.
  • Who Has 'The Right Stuff'? Educational Elites, Entrepreneurship and Institutional Change in China Eesley, Charles, E.
  • The Winds (and Walls) of Change: A Theoretical Framework for Understanding Entrepreneurship in the Midst of Reform Eesley, Charles, E., Armanios, D. E., Koo, W.
  • Bringing Entrepreneurial Ideas to Life Strategic Management Journal, Forthcoming, MIT Sloan Research Eesley, Charles, E., Hsu, David, H., Roberts, Edward, B. : 4762-09
  • Compensating Conformity: How Policies to Create Innovative New Ventures are Muted by Institutional Conformity Eberhart, R. N., Eesley, C. E.
  • Entrepreneurial Ideation and Organizational Performance: Imprinting Effects Available at SSRN 2375052 Eesley, C. E., Hsu, D. H., Roberts, E. B. 2014
  • To Certify or To Broker: How Does Public Infrastructure Help Tech Entrepreneurs Acquire Public Funds? Available at SSRN 1982817 Armanios, D. E., Eesley, C. E., Li, J., Eisenhardt, K. M. 2013
  • Flexibility in Prior Work Institutions and Entrepreneurship: Evidence from China Available at SSRN 2207553 Yang, D., Eesley, C., Yang, X. 2013
  • Entrepreneurship Education Comes of Age on Campus: The Challenges and Rewards of Bringing Entrepreneurship to Higher Education Torrance, W. E., Rauch, J., Aulet, W., Blum, L., Burke, B., D'Ambrosio, T., Eesley, C. E. 2013
  • The Contingent Effects of Top Management Teams on Venture Performance: Aligning Founding Team Composition with Innovation Strategy and Commercialization Environment. forthcoming, Strategic Management Journal Eesley, Charles, E., Hsu, D., Roberts, Edward, B. 2013
  • The Winds (and Walls) of Change: A Theoretical Framework for Understanding Entrepreneurship in the Midst of Reform Available at SSRN 2207829 Eesley, C., Armanios, D., Koo, W. 2013
  • The contingent effects of top management teams on venture performance: Aligning founding team composition with innovation strategy and commercialization environment Strategic Management Journal Eesley, C. E., Hsu, D. H., Roberts, E. B. 2013
  • How Making it Easier to Succeed Reduces Success: IPO Reform and New Firm Performance Center on Japanese Economy and Business, Graduate School of Business Eberhart, R., Eisenhardt, K., Eesley, C. 2013
  • Are You Experienced or Are You Talented?: When Does Innate Talent versus Experience Explain Entrepreneurial Performance? STRATEGIC ENTREPRENEURSHIP JOURNAL Eesley, C. E., Roberts, E. B. 2012; 6 (3): 207-219

    View details for DOI 10.1002/sej.1141

    View details for Web of Science ID 000308646300002

  • Does Institutional Change in Universities Influence High-Tech Entrepreneurship? Evidence from China’s Project 985 Evidence from China’s Project 985 Eesley, C., Li, J. B., Yang, D. 2012
  • Review of: Winds of Change: The Environmental Movement and the Global Development of the Wind Energy Industry Administrative Science Quarterly Eesley, C., E., Hannah, D., P. 2012; 57: 359-362
  • Government Officials or Mixed Institutions: How do Ventures Acquire Public Sector Investment in Emerging Economies? Available at SSRN 1982817 Armanios, D., Eesley, C., Li, J., Eisenhardt, K. 2012
  • Failure is an option: institutional reform, bankruptcy, and new firm performance Stanford Graduate School of Business working paper. http://sprie. gsb Eberhart, R., Eesley, C. 2012
  • Does Public Funding of University R&D Influence High-Tech Entrepreneurship Available at SSRN 1996741 Li, J. B., Eesley, C., Yang, D. 2012
  • Cognitive impairment in schizophrenia Novel Antischizophrenia Treatments Eesley, C. E., Keefe, R., Harvey, P. D. 2012: 11-37
  • Are You Experienced: When Does Talent vs. Experience Drive Entrepreneurial Performance Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal Eesley, C., E., Roberts, E., B. 2012; 6 (3): 207-219
  • Ion B. Vasi: Winds of Change: The Environmental Movement and the Global Development of the Wind Energy Industry Administrative Science Quarterly Eesley, C. E., Hannah, D. 2012; 2 (57): 359-362
  • Entrepreneurial impact: The role of MIT Now Publishers Inc Roberts, E. B., Eesley, C. E. 2011; 1-2 (7)
  • Institutional Reform and New Firm Performance: More or Better Firms? Eberhart, R. N., Eesley, C. 2011
  • Institutional Flexibility and Training for Employment vs. Entrepreneurship?: Evidence from China Entrepreneurship Yang, D., Eesley, C., Tian, X., Roberts, E. 2011
  • Foundations and Trends (R) in Entrepreneurship Foundations and Trends Journal Articles Roberts, E. B., Eesley, C. E. 2011; 1–2 (7): 1-149
  • Focus or diversify? Aligning founding teams with strategy and environment MIT Sloan Research Paper Eesley, C., Hsu, D., Roberts, E. 2011
  • Entrepreneurial Impact: The Role of MIT - An Updated Report Foundations and Trends in Entrepreneurship Roberts, E., B., Eesley, C., E. 2011; 7 (1-2): 1-149
  • Exploring the Economic Experiment (I): Hypothesis Development MIT Entrepreneurship Review Bikard, M., Eesley, C., E 2010
  • Does Strategy Influence the Ideal Team?*: The Importance of Matching Founding Team Composition and Commercialization Strategy MIT Sloan Research Paper Eesley, C., Hsu, D., Roberts, E. 2010
  • Institutions and Innovation: A Literature Review of the Impact of Public R&D and Financial Institutions on Firm Innovation Available at SSRN 1713451 Eesley, C. 2010
  • Exploring the Economic Experiment (II): Hypothesis Testing MIT Entrepreneurship Review Eesley, C., Bikard, M. 2010
  • Bringing Ideas to Life: Integrating Organizational Economics and Organizational Capabilities Eesley, C. E., Hsu, D. H., Roberts, E. B. 2009
  • Entrepreneurial Ventures from Technology-Based Universities: A Cross-National Comparison Available at SSRN 1420225 Eesley, C. E. 2009
  • Cutting your teeth: The beginning of the learning curve Management of Engineering & Technology, PICMET 2009. Portland Eesley, C. E., Roberts, E. B. 2009
  • Who Has 'The Right Stuff'? Educational Elites, Entrepreneurship and Institutional Change in China Educational Elites, Entrepreneurship and Institutional Change in China Eesley, C. 2009
  • Private Environmental Activism and the Selection and Response of Firm Targets. Journal of Economics Management and Strategy Lenox, M., Eesley, C., E. 2009; 18 (1): 45-73
  • Private environmental activism and the selection and response of firm targets Journal of Economics & Management Strategy Lenox, M. J., Eesley, C. E. 2009; 1 (18): 45-73
  • Essays on institutions and pre-founding experience: effects for technology-based entrepreneurs in the US and China Massachusetts Institute of Technology Eesley, C. D. 2009
  • Entrepreneurship and China: history of policy reforms and institutional development Stanford University Eesley, C. E. 2009
  • Entrepreneurial Impact: The Role of MIT. Kauffman Foundation Roberts, E., B., Eesley, C., E. 2009
  • Impact: The Role of MIT Roberts, E. B., Eesley, C. 2009
  • Entrepreneurs from technology-based universities: Evidence from MIT Research Policy Hsu, D. H., Roberts, E. B., Eesley, C. E. 2007; 5 (36): 768-788
  • Entrepreneurs from Technology-Based Universities Research Policy Hsu, D., H., Roberts, E., B., Eesley, C., E. 2007; 36: 768–788
  • Implementing a Public Subsidy for Vaccines Pharmaceutical Innovation: Incentives, Competition, and Cost-Benefit Sloan, F. A., Eesley, C. E. 2007
  • Firm Responses to Secondary Stakeholder Action Strategic Management Journal Eesley, C., E., Lenox, M. 2006; 27 (8): 765-781
  • SERIAL ENTREPRENEURS FROM MIT (SUMMARY) Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research Eesley, C. E., Roberts, E. B. 2006; 7 (26): 4
  • Firm responses to secondary stakeholder action Strategic Management Journal Eesley, C., Lenox, M. J. 2006; 8 (27): 765-781
  • and Hospital Liability Insurance Markets Medical Malpractice and the US Health Care System, 291 Sloan, F. A., Eesley, C. E. 2006: 291
  • Cutting your teeth: learning from rare experiences Unpublished working paper, MIT Eesley, C., Roberts, E. 2006
  • Defining A Cognitive Function Decrement in Schizophrenia. Biological Psychiatry Keefe, R., Eesley, C., E., Poe, M. 2005; 57: 688-691
  • Defining a cognitive function decrement in schizophrenia Biological psychiatry Keefe, R. S., Eesley, C. E., Poe, M. P. 2005; 6 (57): 688-691
  • Defining a cognitive function decrement in schizophrenia BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY Keefe, R. S., Eesley, C. E., Poe, M. P. 2004; 55: 41S-41S

Books and Book Chapters


  • Two radical neuron doctrines Eesley, C. E., Hilbert, D., Byrne, A., Kothari, S., Ramanna, K., Skinner, D. Cambridge University Press. 2013
  • Neurocognitive Impairments Essentials of Schizophrenia Keefe, R., Eesley, C. E. American Psychiatric Publishing. Washington, DC, 2012.. 2012
  • Bringing Ideas to Life IEEE International Recent Advances in Technology and Innovation Management Eesley, C. E., Hsu, D., Roberts, E. B. Wily Publications. 2012: 40-60
  • Neurocognition in Schizophrenia Kaplan and Sadock's Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry Keefe, R., Eesley, C. E. edited by Sadock, B., Sadock, V. A., Ruiz, P. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins. 2009
  • Neurocognition in Schizophrenia Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry. Keefe, R. S., Eesley, C. E. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. 2009: 1531-41
  • Implementing a Public Subsidy for Vaccines Pharmaceutical Innovation: Incentives, Competition, and Cost-Benefit Analysis in International Perspective Sloan, F. A., Eesley, C. E. edited by Sloan, F. A. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2007: 107-126
  • Neurocognitive impairments Textbook of Schizophrenia. Keefe, R. S., Eesley, C. E. edited by Lieberman, J. A., Stroup, T. S., Perkins, D. O. American Psychiatric Publishing. 2006
  • Governments as Insurers in Professional and Hospital Liability Insurance Markets Medical Malpractice and the U.S. Health Care System--New Century, Different Issues Sloan, F. A., Eesley, C. E. edited by Sage, W. M. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2006: 291-317
  • Neurocognitive Impairments American Psychiatry Publishing Textbook of Schizophrenia Keefe, R., Eesley, C. E. edited by Lieberman, J. A., Stroup, T. S., Perkins, D. O. American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.. 2005: 245-260

Conference Proceedings


  • Failure IS an Option: Institutional Barriers to Failure and New Firm Performance. Eberhart, R., N., Eesley, C., E., Eisenhardt, K. 2012

    View details for DOI 10.5465/AMBPP.2012.189

  • Does Institutional Change in Universities Influence High-Tech Entrepreneurship?: Evidence from China’s Project 985 Eesley, C., E., Li, J., B., Yang, D. 2012
  • Changing entrepreneurial strategies to developing capitalist institutions: A look at Chinese technology entrepreneurs Eesley, C., E., Yang, D. 2012
  • Who has ‘The Right Stuff’? Human Capital, Entrepreneurship and Institutional Change in China. Eesley, C., E. 2012
  • The Future of Technology Entrepreneurship Research Eesley, C., E. 2011
  • Changing entrepreneurial strategies to developing capitalist institutions: A look at Chinese technology entrepreneurs Eesley, C., Yang, D. 2011
  • Changing entrepreneurial strategies to developing capitalist institutions: A look at Chinese technology entrepreneurs. Eesley, C., E., Yang, D. 2011
  • Bringing entrepreneurial ideas to life Eesley, C., Hsu, D., Roberts, E. 2011
  • CUTTING YOUR TEETH: LEARNING FROM ENTREPRENEURIAL EXPERIENCES. Eesley, C. E., Roberts, E. B. 2010
  • Who has ‘the right stuff’? Human capital, entrepreneurship and institutional change in China Eesley, C. E. 2009
  • Secondary Stakeholder Actions and the Selection of Firm Targets. Eesley, C., E., Lenox, M. 2006
  • SECONDARY STAKEHOLDER ACTIONS AND THE SELECTION OF FIRM TARGETS. EESLEY, C. E., LENOX, M. J. 2006
  • Secondary Stakeholder Actions and the Selection of Firm Targets Eesley, C., E., Lenox, M. 2006
  • Secondary Stakeholders and Firm Self-Regulation Eesley, C., E., Lenox, M. 2005