Consistency Issues in Funding, Recruitment and Customer Acquisition Processes in Entrepreneurial Firms

  • This thesis consists of five chapters. Chapter one elaborates on the principle of cognitive consistency and provides an overview of what extant research refers to as cognitive consistency theories (e.g., Abelson et al., 1968; Harmon-Jones & Harmon-Jones, 2007; Simon, Stenstrom, & Read, 2015). Moreover, it describes the most prominent theoretical representatives in this context, namely balance theory (Heider, 1946, 1958), congruity theory (Osgood & Tannenbaum, 1955), and cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger, 1957). Chapter one further outlines the role of individuals’ preference for cognitive consistency in the context of financial resource acquisition, the recruitment of employees and the acquisition of customers in the entrepreneurial context. Chapter two is co-authored by Prof. Dr. Matthias Baum and presents two separate studies in which we empirically investigate the hypothesis that social entrepreneurs face a systematic disadvantage, compared to for-profit entrepreneurs, when seeking to acquire financial resources. Further, our work goes beyond existing research by introducing biased perceptions as a factor that may constrain social enterprise resource acquisition and therefore possibly stall the process of social value creation. On the foundation of role congruity theory (Eagly & Karau, 2002), we emphasize on the question whether social entrepreneurs provide signals which are less congruent with the stereotype of successful entrepreneurs and, in such, are perceived as less competent. We further test whether such biased competency perceptions feed forward into a lower probability to receive funding. Chapter three is also co-authored by Prof. Dr. Matthias Baum as well as by Eva Henrich. The aim of this chapter is to further our understanding of the early recruitment phase and to contribute to the current debate about how firms should orchestrate their recruitment channels in order to enhance the creation of employer knowledge. We introduce the concept of integrated marketing communication into the recruitment field and examine how the level of consistency regarding job or organization information affects the recall and the recognition of that information. We additionally test whether information consistency among multiple recruitment channels influences information recognition failure quota. Answering this question is important as by failing to remember the source of recruitment information, job seekers may attribute job information to the wrong firm and thus create an incorrect employer knowledge. Chapter four, which is co-authored by Prof. Dr. Matthias Baum, introduces customer congruity perceptions between a brand and a reward in the context of customer referral programs as an essential driver of the effectiveness of such programs. More precisely, we posit and empirically test a model according to which the decision-making process of the customer recommending a firm involves multiple mental steps and assumes reward perceptions to be an immediate antecedent of brand evaluation, which then, ultimately shapes the likelihood of recommendation. The level of congruity/incongruity is set up as an antecedent state and affects the perceived attractiveness of the reward. Our work contributes to the discussion on the optimal level of congruity between a prevailing schema in the mind of the customer and a stimulus presented. In addition, chapter four introduces customer referral programs as a strategic tool for brand managers. Chapter four is further published in Psychology & Marketing. Chapter five first proposes that marketing strategies specifically designed to induce word-of-mouth (WOM) behavior are particular relevant for new ventures. Against the background that previous research suggests that customer perceptions of young firm age may influence customer behavior and the degree to which customers support new ventures (e.g., Choi & Shepherd, 2005; Stinchcombe, 1965), we secondly conduct an experiment to examine the causal mechanisms linking firm age and customer WOM. Chapter five, too, is co-authored by Prof. Dr. Matthias Baum.
Author:Christian Stumpf
Advisor:Matthias Baum
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Language of publication:English
Publication Date:2018/11/01
Year of Publication:2018
Publishing Institute:Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Granting Institute:Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Acceptance Date of the Thesis:2018/09/10
Date of the Publication (Server):2018/11/07
Number of page:VIII, 214
Faculties / Organisational entities:Fachbereich Wirtschaftswissenschaften
DDC-Cassification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 330 Wirtschaft
Licence (German):Creative Commons 4.0 - Namensnennung, nicht kommerziell, keine Bearbeitung (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)