Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

David R. Hekman

Second Advisor

Maw Der Foo

Third Advisor

Mattias Nilsson

Fourth Advisor

Bret R. Fund

Fifth Advisor

Dean A. Shepherd

Abstract

This dissertation combines my interests in the fields of entrepreneurship and social psychology. Using a three-essay model, I focus on a set of research questions motivated by both phenomenological and theoretical considerations in and across these disciplines. The overarching goal of this body of work is to develop a better understanding of how communities can influence and impact individual decision-making as it relates to the entrepreneurial process, both from the investor perspective and the entrepreneur perspective. The contexts for understanding are both traditional, physical communities and virtual communities.

Chapters two and three explore how the community social identity of an entrepreneur influences his/her decision-making and, ultimately, his/her behavior to continue operating following a natural disaster. The decision of interest is the reevaluation of the opportunity and the decision to proceed or exit. Chapter four investigates the role of relationship dynamics between community stakeholders on the decision to financially contribute to an entrepreneurial project or venture, particularly how aspirational entrepreneurial identity interacts with the individual’s heuristics and biases.

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