Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Business Administration

Major Professor

Timothy P. Munyon, Robert M. Fuller

Committee Members

Terry Leap, Anne D. Smith


Entrepreneurship researchers are consistently interested in identifying the mechanisms involved in the success and growth of new ventures. In this dissertation, I examine the antecedents and consequences of help-seeking behaviors by entrepreneurs. Specifically, I examine antecedents to entrepreneurial help-seeking that influence their choices, and then how help-seeking behaviors impact entrepreneurs and their ventures.In Essay 1, I develop the foundation for why help-seeking is an important process to study in entrepreneurship, discuss how entrepreneurship differs from the traditional organizational context, and then extrapolate how entrepreneurship provides a unique lens through which to examine this behavior. In Essay 2, I draw on human capital theory to explore how the prior industry experience of entrepreneurs affects their help-seeking behaviors. Using a sample of U.S. entrepreneurs, I investigate how the difficulty and frequency of problems, as well as industry differences, have an effect on how and when the entrepreneur seeks help. In Essay 3, I unpack how help-seeking behavior may modify the overall outcomes of the venture by specifically looking at how social and economic exchanges increase entrepreneurial work tension and affect firm performance leading to closure intentions. I empirically test how these two types of exchanges create different expectations that induce tension and have different consequences in terms of firm performance and the longevity of the venture.Together these three essays examine the process of help-seeking in entrepreneurship. In combination, this dissertation integrates and tests theory regarding the antecedents and consequences of entrepreneurial help-seeking, shedding new light into this important process.

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