Kelley School of Business
Assistant Professor

Dr. Stevenson''s research is focused on understanding the early-stage challenges that entrepreneurs face when launching and

Areas of Expertise

Entrepreneur decision-making, entrepreneur psychology, crowdfunding, angel investing, resourcefulness, lean startup, behavioral strategy, and experimental methods.

Awards, Honors & Certificates

  • Kelley School of Business Innovative Teaching Award (2016-2017)
  • Prior to entering academia: Selected for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award (Regional Finalist)
  • Prior to entering academia: Selected for BDC Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award (Regional Finalist)
  • National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Grant
  • Canadian Millennium National Excellence Grant

Selected Publications

  • Stevenson, R.M., Ciuchta, M. P., Letwin, C., Dinger, J., & Vancouver, J. (2018), "Out of control or right on the money? Funder self-efficacy and crowd bias in equity crowdfunding," Journal of Business Venturing, forthcoming. View Full Text

Abstract Drawing on control theory, we demonstrate that investor self-efficacy is negatively related to crowdfunder decision-making performance via reduced investor effort. Our research also indicates that investors with high self-efficacy tend to exhibit a “crowd bias” whereby they are more likely to select poor quality investment options that are favored by the crowd. We test our model using two complementary experimental lab studies and a third quasi-experimental field study. Our findings extend the entrepreneurship literature by highlighting the mechanism through which self-efficacy can hinder rather than enhance individual performance in entrepreneurial settings. We also contribute to the organizational psychology literature by demonstrating how social indicators (i.e., crowd cues) can exasperate the negative effect of self-efficacy.

  • Johnson, M., Stevenson, R. M., & Letwin, C., (2018), "A woman’s place is in the startup! Crowdfunder judgments, implicit bias, and the stereotype content model," Journal of Business Venturing, forthcoming. View Full Text

Abstract We examine investor stereotypes and implicit bias in crowdfunding decisions. Prior research in formal venture capital settings demonstrates that investors tend to have a funding bias against women. However, in crowdfunding – wherein a ‘crowd’ of amateur investors make relatively small investments in new companies – our empirical observations reveal a funding advantage for women. We explain the causal mechanism underlying this counterintuitive finding by drawing upon stereotype content theory and testing a dual path moderated-mediation model. Based on archival data and a follow-up experiment, our findings suggest common gender biases held by amateur investors function to increase female stereotype perceptions in the form of trustworthiness judgments, which subsequently increases investors'' willingness to invest in early-stage women-led ventures. We discuss our results with specific attention to how our findings extend the entrepreneurship funding literature as well as the gender dynamics literature in entrepreneurship and organization research more broadly.

  • Ciuchta, M. P., Letwin, C., Stevenson, R. M., McMahon, S. & Huvaj, N. (2018), "Betting on the coachable entrepreneur: Signaling and social exchange in entrepreneurial pitches," Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, forthcoming. View Full Text

Abstract Given that stakeholders often commit more than capital to a startup, they commonly stress how important it is for entrepreneurs to be “coachable.” To date, however, coachability has received little attention in entrepreneurship research. We address this gap by first establishing the entrepreneurial coachability construct and validating a measurement scale. Then, drawing on social exchange and signaling theories, we develop and test a novel framework in which coachability influences a potential investor’s willingness to invest. We find that entrepreneurial coachability functions as a viable signal in a pitch setting, but this impact is conditional on the investor’s prior coaching experience.

  • Anglin, A. H., Short, J. C., Stevenson, R. M., Drover, W., McKenny, A. F., & Allison, T. H.  (2018), "The power of positivity? The influence of positive psychological capital language on IPO and crowdfunding outcomes," _Journal of Business Venturing, _33(4). 470-492. View Full Text

Abstract We extend the entrepreneurship literature to include positive psychological capital — an individual or organization''s level of psychological resources consisting of hope, optimism, resilience, and confidence — as a salient signal in crowdfunding. We draw from the costless signaling literature to argue that positive psychological capital language usage enhances crowdfunding performance. We examine 1726 crowdfunding campaigns from Kickstarter, finding that entrepreneurs conveying positive psychological capital experience superior fundraising performance. Human capital moderates this relationship while social capital does not, suggesting that costly signals may, at times, enhance the influence of costless signals. Post hoc analyses suggest findings generalize across crowdfunding types, but not to IPOs.

  • Ciuchta, M. P., Letwin, C., Stevenson, R. M., & McMahon, S. (2016), "Regulatory Focus and Information Cues in a Crowdfunding Context," Applied Psychology, 65(3): 490–514. View Full Text

Abstract It is well understood that information cues associated with an investment opportunity generally impact one''s willingness to participate in that opportunity. What is less well understood, however, is how different types of information cues affect individuals differently, and whether this effect is contingent on the decision maker''s individual attributes. Through a three-study experimental design involving a simulated crowdfunding portal, this research examined the effects of venture quality information and social information on participants’ willingness to invest in a new venture. We hypothesized that participants’ responsiveness to these information cues was contingent on their regulatory focus. Our results were generally supported, although some counterintuitive findings emerged regarding prevention-focused individuals. From a practical standpoint, our results suggest potential concerns regarding the general enthusiasm for crowdfunding, as well as some mitigating factors.

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