On May 17th Assistant Professor from ESADE Business School Jaume Villanueva carried out aresearch seminar at GSOM SPbU. Professor Villanueva has presented his study based on theories of narrative persuasion. In the seminar took part Professors, students and doctoral students of GSOM SPbU.
Jaume Villanueva conducted this study in cooperation withHarry J. Sapienza from University of Minnesota and Richard J. Sudek from University of California-Irvin. To find out how entrepreneurial storytelling affects the evaluations of early-stage investors regarding new venture opportunities, they wrote the story of one startup in four different ways and distributed these stories between 188 active business angels investors from different regions in the United States. The four versions were:
- Story form with intense language
- Story form with non-intense language
- Non-story form with intense language
- Non-story form with nonintense language
It was found that storytelling can affect a number of mechanisms that intervene in the formation of investors’ opportunity evaluations. The study shows that when an entrepreneurial opportunity is presented in the form of a story, potential investors report a higher degree of identification with the entrepreneurial team, and they also tend to provide higher assessments regarding the motivational disposition of the team. However, it was found that investors tend to provide lower assessments regarding the competence of the entrepreneurial team when the opportunity is presented in the form of a story.
Authors suggest that one of the most plausible explanations of why investors reacted negatively, in terms of competence assessments, to the narrative versions of the opportunity description is that a written presentation of a new venture opportunity in the form of a story might have violated standard conventions of how this type of documents look like. So investors could think that the entrepreneurial team did not know how the process of communicating new venture opportunity in a professional manner. Perhaps it could have been different if the opportunity had been communicated in the form of an oral presentation.
The authors of the study believe that in future it would be interesting, to both researchers and practitioners, to be able to gain a better understanding of whether the positive effects of entrepreneurial storytelling on investors’ evaluations could be isolated from the negative ones.
Jaume Villanueva has PhD in Business Administration (University of Minnesota), Master in Business Administration (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and BS in International Economics (University of Gothenburg). Before returning to academia, he worked in international business development for a number of multinational firms in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. He was the co-founder of Fluent Systems, a precision agriculture start-up based in Wisconsin.