The Gendered Liability of Venture Novelty

Zhenyu LIAO, Jack H. ZHANG, Nan WANG*, William P. BOTTOM, Dirk DEICHMANN, Pok Man TANG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


To hedge unforeseen risk, investors may seek to fund male-led ventures that they anticipate most other investors will prefer, arriving at decisions biased against women. Yet, little is known about how investors infer such gendered preferences and when they are particularly likely to do so. Integrating insights from third-party bias research with social role theory, we posit that when women propose novel ventures, investors are more apt to make unpromising social approval forecasting - an anticipation of the extent to which other investors will endorse these ventures - and thus withhold funding support. This is because the intensified gender role violations due to women being entrepreneurial in tandem with being novel lead investors to impose harsher judgments that these ventures violate normative business practices. Our hypotheses received support from results of three methodologically complementary studies, including an archival study of Shark Tank (2009-2019) coupled with preregistered online and field experiments. By casting light on how venture novelty, a key determining factor of entrepreneurial success, makes third-party bias against women particularly salient, our work identifies a less overt “entrepreneurial gender dilemma” and derives new insights into policy making designed to help women entrepreneurs surmount financial and social barriers in the innovation-based economy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 May 2023


  • entrepreneurial financing
  • gender inequality
  • social approval forecasting,
  • venture novelty


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