Gender Differences in Communication and Investor Perceptions of Entrepreneurship Potential

Laura Huang, Harvard Business School; Priyanka Joshi, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; and Andy Wu, Harvard Business School

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.