Crisis event characteristics as boundary conditions of death awareness and social entrepreneurship: A multi-study investigation
29 Sep 2023 (Fri)
10:00am – 11:30am
LSK Rm5047
Ms Nan Guo, University of Texas, Dallas

Crises have profound effects on societies, leading to high mortality rates that can motivate individuals to engage in ways that contribute to crisis management and resilience. For instance, they could think about developing new products or services that benefit society or the environment. The role that death awareness, due to increased mortality rates, plays in establishing a social entrepreneurial venture during crisis, however, is unclear. The existing literature on death awareness implies a diverging impact of death awareness on social entrepreneurship intentions via death anxiety (negative effect) and death reflection (positive effect). In the current study, we employ an overarching theoretical framework—transactional theory of stress—to elucidate the relationship between death awareness and social entrepreneurial intention. We hypothesize that this relationship is mediated by death anxiety and death reflection, and these mediation effects vary based on the criticality and novelty of the crisis, respectively. We conducted two experiments and one time-lagged field study. Across three studies, we consistently find that the relationship between death awareness and social entrepreneurial intention is mediated by death reflection, and such mediation effect is moderated by novelty of crisis. We also find a negative mediation effect of death anxiety for the relationship between death awareness and social entrepreneurial intention in Study 3 (the field study). This research contributes to the understanding of social entrepreneurship amid crises, as well as challenges existing literature of death awareness and provides new insights for future research.

Keywords: social entrepreneurial intention, death awareness, novelty, criticality, transactional theory of stress