Better Flee from Freedom? Testing the Effects of Structured Accountability on New Venture Performance

To what extent does commitment and reporting to others affect entrepreneurial outcomes?

Recent research into the effects of business accelerators on new ventures' performance speculates that entrepreneurs may benefit from the existence of “structured accountability”, a process by which founders are required to periodically express their strategic plans and progress in front of others. This idea is based on anecdotal evidence from business accelerator participants, who have perceived value from the hierarchical structure imposed by the programme. Of particular interest is the idea that the appeal of job independence, which drives entrepreneurs, may actually work against them in terms of performance achievement.

To test this theory, this RCT will conduct an experiment on a balanced sample of 360 early-stage business accelerator participant startups. Treated participants are randomly chosen and given monthly structured accountability sessions for six months. At the end of the intervention, this trial will quantify the performance of startups by measuring their survival, the number of jobs created, the capital raised and sales.