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Enrolling Stakeholders under Conditions of Risk and Uncertainty



Research summary Entrepreneurs often need resources controlled by stakeholders to form and exploit opportunities. While many of these resources can be acquired through simple contracts, the acquisition of some may require efforts on the part of stakeholders that go beyond what can be specified contractually. Such efforts—extra-role behaviors—generally involve the formation of deep psychological bonds between stakeholders and entrepreneurial endeavors. In an entrepreneurial context, the process of creating these bonds can be called stakeholder enrollment. Critical attributes of this process are shown to vary by the informational setting (risky or uncertain) within which entrepreneurship takes place. Managerial summary Entrepreneurs often need to gain access to resources controlled by other stakeholders to be successful. In some cases, entrepreneurs must induce these stakeholders to form deep psychological bonds in order to obtain the required resources. The process of creating these bonds is called stakeholder enrollment. This article notes that entrepreneurs can use information about the nature of the opportunity they are pursuing, information about themselves (i.e., the entrepreneurs’ charisma, trustworthiness, and reputation), or both, to enroll stakeholders. This article suggests that the more uncertain a particular opportunity is, the less entrepreneurs can use information about the opportunity and the more they must rely on information about themselves to successfully enroll stakeholders.

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