What Signals Matter for Social Startups? It Depends: The Influence of Gender Role Congruity on Social Impact Accelerator Selection Decisions
56 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2019 Last revised: 24 May 2019
Date Written: April 8, 2019
Social impact accelerators (SIAs) seek to select startups with the potential to generate financial returns and social impact. Through the lenses of signaling theory and gender role congruity theory, we examine 2,324 social startups that applied to 123 SIAs globally in 2016 and 2017 and find that SIAs are more likely to accept startups that signal their economic and social credibility. Moreover, while we find that the influence of these signals is strongest when they are congruent with the stereotypes associated with the lead founder’s gender, men seem to experience better outcomes from gender incongruity than women.
Note: Acknowledgements: The authors thank the Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship at Baruch College, City University of New York, for its financial support of this research.
Keywords: gender role congruity theory, signaling theory, social entrepreneurship, social impact accelerators, social startups
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