Sayan Sarkar, PhD candidate, Strategy and Entrepreneurship
The purpose of this study is to advance understanding of how entrepreneurs can influence venture performance through communicating themselves and their actions through linguistic devices to external stakeholders. I plan to examine conditions under which communication strategies traditionally labelled as labelled as impression management complement, rather than substitute, objectively-determinable venture performance in raising capital from investors. In particular, my focus in on the use of metaphorical expressions to convey the role of the entrepreneur and their entrepreneurial strategies. Using a mixed empirical design – combining large-sample data from crowdfunding platforms and field experiments – I examine two central questions. First, do metaphorical expressions in entrepreneurial communication substitute, or complement, the objectively-determinable growth potential of a venture in investor persuasion? Second, what is the nature of interaction among different categories of metaphors? Do they enhance or substitute each other’s effect on investor behaviour and, by extension, capital-raising outcomes?
The study has the potential to inform extant discourse on leadership, especially in an entrepreneurship context, from both organizational behaviour and strategy standpoints. To OB, it adds insights about a novel route through which leadership communication can effect firm performance: namely through investor persuasion, a mechanism external to the organization. To strategy, it challenges existing totems about impression management in its effort to examine how figurative language might improve, rather than impede, outcomes for the venture and the entrepreneur.