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Faculty Research Award Recipient Profile: Jeffrey Pollack

Photo of Jeffrey Pollack, Department of Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Jeffrey Pollack, Department of Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The Poole College Board of Advisers has provided financial support for a new awards program recognizing faculty for research productivity. These outstanding scholars, named in May, receive a monetary award and carry the honorary title of Poole Advisory Board Scholar for the 2017-18 academic year. Meet one of them: Jeff Pollack, assistant professor of entrepreneurship, Department of Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Jeffrey Pollack
Assistant Professor, Entrepreneurship
Ph.D., Organizational Behavior and Entrepreneurship
Virginia Commonwealth University

Q. What are your Research Interests?

  • Determinants of individual and firm performance
  • The psychology of entrepreneurship
  • Family business studies
  • Individual motivation and cognition; goal setting, operating, monitoring, and achievement

Q. How did you get interested in this area of research?

Over the past 15 years, I had accumulated a variety of entrepreneurial experiences from working in small family owned firms, to buying and selling businesses, to investing in businesses. These experiences shape my interest and perspective on research in the domain of entrepreneurship.

Q. Research Overview

The common thread woven through all my research is that I explore how to optimize individual as well as firm performance. More specifically, the core area of focus in my peer-reviewed publications provides insights into how entrepreneurs access the key resources needed to survive and grow emerging ventures—how entrepreneurs (a) raise money, and (b) acquire new customers. One shared characteristic of emerging ventures is that they all need resources to survive and grow. Accordingly, my research addresses core topics in the domain of entrepreneurship. And, my interests and contributions in research align well with the Poole College of Management’s vision to promote entrepreneurial programs.

My research illustrates that entrepreneurs have a greater propensity to raise funds from investors to the degree that they are viewed as more prepared, and subsequently more legitimate. My work also sheds light on the intricacies of the entrepreneur-investor relationship—that is, even though entrepreneurs may not be entirely forthcoming in communicating, investors may be willing to forgive them (Pollack & Bosse, 2014).

Embedded within this work is the recognition that raising money and acquiring new customers is hard—and, accordingly, entrepreneurs need the correct mindset. My work shows that growth mindsets (relative to fixed mindsets) enable entrepreneurs to respond adaptively to setbacks and challenges (Pollack, Burnette & Hoyt, 2012). Moreover, a greater number of social ties buffer the effects of economic stress on entrepreneurs’ withdrawal intentions (Pollack, VanEpps, & Hayes, 2012). And, to the degree that entrepreneurs view the customer acquisition process—via networking—as relationship building, they will experience greater success in gaining referrals from networking (Pollack, Coy, Green, & Davis, 2015).

Q. How does your research impact your teaching?

My field (entrepreneurship) is one that aligns research and teaching very well. All the things that I research I am able to incorporate into the classroom. And, what I learn from my students through teaching, I am driven to explore empirically in the research context.

Note: Dr. Jeffrey Pollack is one of Poole College’s 2017 Summer Research Award recipients.