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Cultures of Feedback in New Ventures

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Entrepreneurship is a feedback-driven process (Bhave, 1994) whereby feedback is information about whether goals are achieved or how to achieve them at the individual or venture levels of analysis. Entrepreneurs are often seen as the managers of feedback in new ventures. They can receive formal feedback from the market in the form of demand or investment, as well as through launching product prototypes, piloting services, and changing business models (Andries et al., 2013; Baum & Bird, 2010). They can also proactively seek interpersonal feedback through interactions with different individuals, such as co-founders (Gemmell et al., 2012), employees (Volery et al., 2015), experts and community leaders (Katre & Salipante, 2012), prospective and early customers (Corner & Wu, 2012; Fisher, 2012), and other entrepreneurs in the same industry (Kuhn & Galloway, 2015). Finally, they receive unsolicited
feedback from peers, experts, and individuals at support organisations (Seidel et al., 2016). Entrepreneurs value feedback because it is evaluative information that helps them to improve their decision making (Haynie et al., 2012), correct errors (Frese, 2007; 2009), develop new products, services, and processes (Gemmell et al., 2012; Katre & Salipante, 2012), balance between incremental and radical innovation (Volery et al., 2015), gain first customers, and turn customers into advocates who promote the offering (Corner & Wu, 2012; Fisher, 2012).

The aim of this project is to investigate how cultures of feedback are established in new ventures, which may be for-profit, non-profit or hybrid organisations. While entrepreneurship is a feedback-driven process (Bhave, 1994), feedback processes are poorly understood in the entrepreneurship context (Ashford et al., 2016; Collewaert et al., 2016; Frese, 2007). The focus so far has been on entrepreneurs as receivers of feedback and only recently they have been seen as active seekers of feedback. However, this entrepreneur-centric lens of feedback ignores the perspectives of relevant others, such as employees and investors, and the interactive nature of feedback processes as other individuals can provide, seek, and reproduce feedback to share it upward or downward in the organisation. How feedback flows in new ventures is a new research agenda that aims to examine the challenges of giving and seeking feedback downward, upward, and outside of the organisation from the perspectives of
entrepreneurs, employees, and stakeholders. Particularly relevant for understanding the flow of feedback in new ventures is the idea of feedback cultures as organisational environments in which entrepreneurs, employees, and even heavily involved stakeholders feel comfortable and safe to seek, give, receive, and use formal and informal feedback for individual and venture development. How such feedback cultures are created in terms of specific processes, capabilities, and mechanisms is unclear, yet provides an interesting multi-perfective lens on understanding feedback processes in entrepreneurship.

Both longitudinal inductive and deductive (drawing on insights from psychology and organisational behaviour) research designs can be used to address the aim of this research project.


Andries, P., Debackere, K., & Looy, B. (2013). Simultaneous experimentation as a learning
strategy: Business model development under uncertainty. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal,
7, 288-310.

Ashford, S. J., De Stobbeleir, K., & Nujella, M. (2016). To seek or not to seek: Is that the only
question? Recent developments in feedback-seeking literature. Annual Review of
Organisational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 3, 213-239.

Baum, J.R., & Bird, B. (2010). The successful intelligence of high-growth entrepreneurs: Links
to new venture growth. Organization Science, 21, 39-412.

Bhave, M. P. (1994). A process model of entrepreneurial venture creation. Journal of Business
Venturing, 9, 223-242.

Collewaert, V., Anseel, F., Crommelinck, M., De Beuckelaer, A., & Vermeire, J. (2016). When
passion fades: Disentangling the temporal dynamics of entrepreneurial passion for founding.
Journal of Management Studies, 53, 966–995.

Corner, P. D., & Wu, S. (2012). Dynamic capability emergence in the venture creation process.
International Small Business Journal, 30, 138-160.

Fisher, G. (2012). Effectuation, causation, and bricolage: A behavioral comparison of emerging
theories in entrepreneurship research. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 36, 1019-1051.

Frese, M. (2007). The psychological actions and entrepreneurial success: An action theory
approach. In J.R. Baum, M. Frese,& R.A. Baron (Eds.), The Psychology of Entrepreneurship
(151-188). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Frese, M. (2009). Toward a psychology of entrepreneurship - An action theory perspective.
Foundations and Trends in Entrepreneurship, 5, 435-494.

Gemmell, R.M., Boland, R.J., & Kolb, D.A. (2012). The socio-cognitive dynamics of
entrepreneurial ideation. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 36, 1053–1073.

Haynie, J.M., Shepherd, D.A., & Patzelt, H. (2012). Cognitive adaptability and an
entrepreneurial task: The role of metacognitive ability and feedback. Entrepreneurship Theory
and Practice, 36, 237-265.

Katre, A., & Salipante, P. (2012). Start-up social ventures: Blending fine-grained behaviors from
two institutions for entrepreneurial success. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 36,

Kuhn, K., & Galloway, T.L. (2015). With a little help from my competitors: Peer networking
among artisan entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 39, 571-600.

Seidel, V.P., Packalen, K.A., & O’Mahony, S. (2016). Helping me do it on my own: How
entrepreneurs manage autonomy and constraints within incubator organizations. Research in
Sociology of Organizations, 47, 277-309.

Volery, T., Mueller, S., & von Siemens, B. (2015). Entrepreneur ambidexterity: A study of
entrepreneur behaviours and competencies in growth-oriented small and medium-sized
enterprises. International Small Business Journal, 33, 109-129.

Related Subjects

How good is research at University of Sheffield in Business and Management Studies?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.50

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