IACMR Research Seminar Series #49

Title: The Gendered Liability of Venture Novelty
Zhenyu Liao廖振宇), Northeastern University
Host: Yucheng Zhang, University of Southampton
When: 9:00- 10:15 am, July 31, 2024 (China Time, UTC+8) 
Language: Chinese 
Where: Zoom


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 one archival study of Shark Tank (2009-2019) and two 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,” which could provide new insights into policymaking for helping women entrepreneurs surmount financial and social barriers in the innovation-based economy.

Speaker’s Bio

Zhenyu Liao ( is the Joseph G. Riesman Assistant Professor and Thomas E. Moore Fellow at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern University. He earned his Ph.D. from the National University of Singapore and completed his post-doctoral fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis. He studies leadership, ethics, inequality, and entrepreneurship. His work has been a recipient or finalist of prestigious awards and fellowships from the Academy of Management and the International Association for Chinese Management Research. He serves on the editorial boards of Academy of Management Journal and Journal of Applied Psychology and has reviewed for many other leading management journals. He has received multiple best reviewer awards from these journals.