A look at the social entrepreneur: the effects of resilience and power distance personality traits on consumers’ perceptions of corporate social sustainability

Abstract

This research investigates how two personality traits common to entrepreneurs permeate their businesses and help successfully position their businesses in consumers’ minds as sustainable. The proposed model suggests that entrepreneurs’ personality traits of resilience and power distance can influence consumers’ perceptions about the business venture’s sustainability practices. Moreover, the study presents evidence these two traits indirectly impact business performance metrics, operationalized as consumers’ patronage intentions and the business’s reputation (i.e., brand equity and ethical leadership). To test the proposed framework, two levels of analysis were used. Level 2 includes data from a sample of 63 entrepreneurs and their self-assessments of their personalities. Level 1 contains data from 383 customers who evaluated the corresponding business ventures. Due to the hierarchical nature and nested structure of the data, hierarchical linear modeling was used to test the hypotheses. Results from this analysis indicate that an entrepreneur’s demonstration of the personality traits of resilience and high-power distance positively influences consumers’ evaluations of the business’ sustainability practices. Findings from this study also indicate that entrepreneurs who show the traits of resilience and high-power distance create positive spillover effects into customers’ perceptions about the ethical nature of the firm’s leadership, their stronger perception of the brand, and their stronger intentions to keep doing business with the firm. Furthermore, all three of these factors were found to be positively related to consumers’ perceptions of the venture’s sustainability practices.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge and express our thanks for the funding received from the Escuela de Empresas’ Grants at Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) to work on this study.

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Correspondence to Franklin Velasco Vizcaíno.

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Vizcaíno, F.V., Cardenas, J.J. & Cardenas, M. A look at the social entrepreneur: the effects of resilience and power distance personality traits on consumers’ perceptions of corporate social sustainability. Int Entrep Manag J 17, 83–103 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11365-019-00626-0

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Keywords

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Personality traits
  • Sustainability
  • Resilience
  • Power distance
  • Hierarchical linear modeling