POKES, PRODS, AND PUSHES: INFORMATION AVAILABILITY AND DECISION MAKING IN AMBIGUOUS ENVIRONMENTS
Greenwood, Brad N.
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In this dissertation I investigate how changes in the availability of information influences decision making in inherently ambiguous environments. As the Internet has not only fostered connectivity, but also catalyzed information generation on an unprecedented scale, my objective is to revisit the concept of information availability and salience in the digital age. I conduct my empirical analysis in the contexts of entrepreneurship and healthcare, which are significant both theoretically as well as in terms of economic and public welfare. In essay one, I examine how rising perceptions of fashion, viz., increased media coverage and herding, influence the willingness of venture capitalists to fund non-co-located entrepreneurs. This essay contributes to extant theory on entrepreneur-VC co-location by identifying the effect that social trends, as opposed to factors which are native only to the focal entrepreneur, can have on the willingness to venture capitalists to fund non-co-located entrepreneurs. In essay two, I explore the interplay between the broadcast and social media, as well as the ability of these media to incentivize firm formation on the part of nascent entrepreneurs. Applying the lens of agenda setting theory I demonstrate that the social media will moderate the impact of the broadcast media when entrepreneurs and financiers seek to found and fund new ventures. This study augments existing literature by considering not only the intensity of non-novel information, but also how participation will impact decision making. The third essay investigates a persistent puzzle in the medical literature: how different physicians react to medical guideline release (i.e. the release of new and novel information) which call into question the efficacy of long standing treatment options. Situating this essay within two theoretical tensions in the literature, the trade-off between agility and routines and the debate between costless and costly information assimilation, I find that while physicians are discerning in their reaction to new information their reactions are not quick, creating significant public welfare deficits. Moreover, I find that physician characteristics, such as tenure, board certification, and freelancer status, significantly moderate physician response to new guidelines. Taken together these essays contribute to the literature on Information Systems and Strategic Management by augmenting understanding of the construct of information availability, and how it affects decision makers in ambiguous environments.