Tech firms ‘have an edge’

Irish technology firms have a number of key advantages that could see them outlast competitors in the US and further afield, new research suggests.

A number of cultural factors ingrained in Irish businesses set them apart from equivalents elsewhere and give them a better chance of bucking an international trend whereby companies are tending to enjoy shorter lifespans.

An analysis of some of the largest firms in the US suggests the average time in which a business is in operation has fallen from 90 years to just 12 in half a century.

The research carried out by Stanford University professor of organisational behaviour, Charles O’Reilly identified four key cultural aspects that can help ensure companies adapt and flourish in the long term.

These include repeated reinforcement of key ideals by management; involving staff at all levels to improve buy-in; and rewarding employees by recognising their contributions rather than simply increasing their remuneration.

Delivering on those aspects is often aided by having an experienced management team at the helm which is one advantage Irish tech firms have over their counterparts.

“[Irish tech firms] tend to be headed by managers a little bit older and more experienced in management,” Prof O’Reilly told Enterprise Ireland’s ‘The Market’ publication.

“Many of the smaller high-tech companies in Silicon Valley are headed by people who are brilliant technologists but not necessarily great managers, so they often scale and then get into trouble for that reason.

“I think having managers that are a bit more experienced potentially gives Irish companies a bit of an advantage.”

The Stanford professor who has worked closely with Enterprise Ireland on a range of education programmes in recent years said a shortening lifespan may well be an inevitable by-product of more intense competition and disruptive technologies but argues the extent to which companies can adapt can determine whether a business survives or not.

Another aspect which counts in Irish firms’ favour is their tendency to embrace foreign markets earlier in their existence with companies on this side of the Atlantic more globally focused than their US counterparts.


Wesley O’ Regan is the General Manager of Popscene in Voodoo Rooms, Cork city. Popscene opened last November and is Cork’s only themed bar that is dedicated to celebrating the best of the 80s and 90s.'ve Been Served: Wesley O'Regan, Popscene

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