An entrepreneur pitches investors on her business idea

Two Weatherhead School economics professors awarded most influential paper by Academy of Management

The awards committee for the new Organizational Neuroscience interest group within the Academy of Management has selected a paper by Scott Shane, professor of economics, and David Clingingsmith, associate professor of economics, as the most influential paper published for ONS in 2020. The awards will be announced at AOM’s annual meeting this summer.

The paper, titled, “Founder passion, neural engagement and informal investor interest in startup pitches: An fMRI study,” was published in Journal of Business Venturing.

Shane and Clingingsmith, along with their other co-authors, explore how variation in entrepreneurs’ displayed passion affects informal investor interest in startup ventures by examining neural responses to entrepreneurs’ pitches using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).

The study finds that founders displaying high passion increase investor neural engagement by 39% and investor interest in the venture by 26% over those displaying low passion. A one standard deviation increase in neural engagement is associated with an 8% percent increase in investors’ interest in investing in a start-up company relative to the mean. The findings also indicate that neural engagement may account for some of the effect of founder passion on investor interest.

The Organizational Neuroscience interest group is dedicated to using neuroscience knowledge and approaches at different levels in organizations, as well as promoting linkages to management practice. The group encourages knowledge generation through theoretical propositions and empirical evidence pertaining to the neural mechanisms associated with behavior in the workplace. The interest group also seeks to understand how the environment, culture and institutions can affect organizational actors’ nervous system functioning.