Social impact is the most prevalent entrepreneurial motivation among women

Close to 15,000 entrepreneurs were surveyed, some of which were listed in investment funding and job-seeking websites.

2 min read

Among women, the most prevalent entrepreneurial motivating factor is more likely to be social impact rather than monetary values, according to new research released in Management Science.

The study, conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, consisted of three field experiments as part of an international event known as the Inclusive Innovation Challenge. Close to 15,000 entrepreneurs were surveyed, some of which were listed in investment funding and job-seeking websites.

Among each participant, they received a randomly assigned message either with a social impact, money value, or neutral-based theme. Responses were gathered based on their interpretation of the messages in an effort to establish any motivating factors.

As the co-authors inferred in their findings, the results concluded that women are more motivated by social-impact messages than monetary ones, a contrasting conclusory result compared to general responses by men.

“We find consistent evidence that women and individuals located in more altruistic cultures are more motivated by social-impact messages than money, whereas men and those in less altruistic cultures are more motivated by money than social impact,” the findings state.

“The estimates are not driven by differences in the type of company, its size, or other observable characteristics, but, instead, appear to come from differences in the underlying motivations of innovative entrepreneurs themselves,” the co-authors explained.

Furthermore, the study also puts into context the significance of altruistic cultures. People from such cultures are more likely to convey with prosocial, influential messages.

The study, titled What Motivates Innovative Entrepreneurs? Evidence from a Global Field Experiment, received funding from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University.

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