Exploring the Effects of Construal-Level in Entrepreneurship Pitches

Laura Huang, Management, The Wharton School; Cheryl Wakslak, USC Marshall; and Priyanka Joshi, USC Marshall

Abstract: Entrepreneurial start-up ventures are a major contributor to innovation and job creation in the U.S.  One critical task that entrepreneurs face is finding investors who are willing to provide the funding and resources that will allow the business to survive (Aldrich, 1999). Although the fundamentals of an entrepreneur’s business plan and his or her prior experience are the major drivers of these resource decisions (e.g. MacMillan, Zemann, and Subbanarasimha, 1987), research suggests that investors also draw from more subtle considerations in their decision-making (e.g. Fried & Hisrich, 1994). In the current project, I integrate insights from recent psychological work on Construal Level Theory (Trope, Liberman, & Wakslak, 2007) to distinguish between two forms of mental representations of information that entrepreneurs use in their attempts to acquire resources: high-level, abstract representations that distinguish more important from less important features, and low-level, concrete representations.

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