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Previous Seminars 2015-16

EI Seminar - 20th June 2016

Speaker: Professor Scott Shane, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio

Title: Training Entrepreneurs to Pitch Experienced Investors

We provide and test an explanation for how training “best practice” in pitching affects the performance of entrepreneurs at pitching accredited investors, using a field experiment conducted at four elevator pitch competitions. We argue that pitch training works to improve outcomes with experienced investors because it leads entrepreneurs to provide more information in their pitches. This information influences investors differently depending on how much their priors reflect public information about new venture quality. Consistent with the predictions of our model, we found that experienced investors were more negative about pitches than inexperienced investors; that pitch training increased the amount of information contained in entrepreneurs’ pitches; and that pitch training improved the performance of entrepreneurs at pitching experienced investors.


Scott Shane is the A. Malachi Mixon III Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. Before moving to Case Western, he held faculty appointments at MIT, the University of Maryland, and Georgia Tech. His PhD is from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is the 2009 winner of the Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research. His article "The promise of entrepreneurship research as a field of research" was awarded the Academy of Management Review Decade Award. His work has appeared in Management Science, Journal of Applied Psychology, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Strategic Management Journal, Organizational Behavioral and Human Decision Processes, Organization Science and others.

EI Seminar - 26th April 2016

Speaker: Dr Isobel O'Neil, Nottingham University

Title: "We are all entrepreneurs now": Explaining the process of emplyees' identification with entrepreneurship in a hybrid social venture

Research on hybrid organizing has begun to detail some of the intricacies facing those employed in organizations characterised by potentially conflicting values (e.g. profit and social mission in social enterprises - SE). This research, for example, has accounted for how hiring and socializing activities might reduce conflict between groups of employees who prioritise one value over another (Battilana & Dorado, 2010). Others have suggested both bottom-up and top-down processes together foster employees’ overall identification with an organization and its underlying values even in the presence of enduring divergent values amongst employees (Besharov, 2014). However, to date, this nascent body of research has focused largely on established organizations. Little, therefore, is known about processes characterizing employees’ emerging identification in the early, formative stages of creating a hybrid organization.
Through a longitudinal study, our research seeks to develop a better understanding of how employees identify with hybridity in a newly formed SE. We gathered data from an in-depth case study of an SE in the UK; over two years we conducted a total of 40 interviews, observed various meetings, and gathered a variety of documents. Analysis of our data reveals a process whereby SE employees - who readily identify with the SE’s social mission from the onset, increasingly identify with the entrepreneurship (i.e. profit) values of the SE and thus, incorporate “entrepreneur” within their work-related identities (WRI). Our ongoing analysis suggests three mechanisms that drive the identification with dual values of the SE. These are namely (1) entrepreneurship sense-giving effort (2) WRI expansion which, together, lead to employees’ engagement in (3) collective job crafting.

We see our contributions as two-fold. Firstly, by focusing on an early stage entrepreneurial venture rather than established organizations we extend Besharov’s (2014) insights into the interplay between top-down and bottom-up processes in employee’s identification in hybrid settings. To this end, our findings suggest collective effort (i.e. top-down and bottom-up) shapes employees’ identification with a previously divergent value and that value is then embedded within their own WRI. A process of job crafting ensues whereby the employees extend their work to pursue further entrepreneurial opportunities to tackle the social mission, thus reinforcing the expanded WRI. Secondly, and relatedly, by exploring how the process of establishing social enterprises involves others beyond the founder, we highlight that it is not just founders but also employees who have an imprinting effect (Boeker, 1988); in our case employees played a major role in imprinting social and entrepreneurial values into the organization’s fabric thereby helping create a truly hybrid organization.


Isobel O’Neil is an Assistant Professor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Nottingham University Business School; where she obtained her PhD. Isobel’s research focuses on exploring the challenges of hybridity in entrepreneurship settings (such as environmental and social entrepreneurship), with a specific focus on developing knowledge on new venture legitimation and on issues relating to entrepreneurial identity. Isobel has published in the Journal of Management Studies and the Journal of Business Venturing and has presented at many prestigious entrepreneurship and management conferences including the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Babson BCERC and at the NYU-Stern Social Entrepreneurship conference.