Entrepreneur weirdness as a double-edged sword: Effects on product creativity and investor attraction

Jun Yeob Kim, Emily Grijalva, Daniel A. Newman, Yong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many iconic entrepreneurs have been celebrated for being unapologetically weird. Using pitches collected from the TV show Shark Tank, we seek to unpack the link between entrepreneur weirdness and investor interest (i.e., number of bidders) in the context of securing investor funding. Integrating Wood and colleagues’ (2007) theory of non-normativity with Amabile's (1983, 1996) componential theory of creativity, we propose that weirdness, as a form of non-normativity, yields both positive and negative outcomes for entrepreneurs through two distinct pathways. Specifically, the weirdness advantage operates through entrepreneur creativity, whereas the weirdness liability operates through lower entrepreneur competence. Our empirical analyses of non-normativity suggest that entrepreneur weirdness indeed is a double-edged sword. Further, we propose that entrepreneur warmth (being friendly and good natured) moderates both weirdness effects, by strengthening the positive effect on entrepreneur creativity and dampening the negative effect on entrepreneur competence. Implications of the advantages and disadvantages of entrepreneur weirdness are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-80
Number of pages28
JournalPersonnel Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2024


  • creativity
  • entrepreneurship
  • weirdness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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