Othmar Lehner




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Prof. Othmar M. Lehner is the Vice Dean for research and Professor of Entrepreneurial Finance and Risk at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria (AACSB member). He is also the director of the ACRN Oxford Research Centre, a long term visiting professorial fellow at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford, and an academic visitor at the SAID Business School of the University of Oxford. His research interests are social and sustainable entrepreneurship, related venture finance and impact investing; looking specifically at the motivations and the complex interplay of institutions, the participants and new instruments such as Crowdfunding in the field.

As a second focal point in his research he works in a multidisciplinary team in the domains of Management and Neuro-Science aiming to examine the influence of cognition on managerial decision making. The current project looks at how optimal visualization of data can reduce the cognitive load given specific managerial tasks. Prof. Lehner is extensively published in his field, and a regular visiting scholar, lecturer and supervisor in Heidelberg, New York, Cambridge, Oxford, Salzburg and London. His latest project is the editorship of the Routledge Handbook of Social and Sustainable Finance, published in July 2016.

Work w/ CUSP

Othmar is collaborating with Prof. Fergus Lyon and Dr. Robyn Owen to explore the essence of legitimacy in crowdfunding of social ventures. Crowdfunding is especially well suited for funding of projects with great societal value but sub-par financial returns. Legitimacy of the projects in the eyes of the public is key to a successful funding, however the exact roles of signalling and trust building in this remain unknown so far.

Thus this research will inquire into the nature and interplay of signalling and trust and their mediating role in generating legitimacy from an institutional theory perspective. The outcome will help improve funding campaigns for social ventures and contribute to theory and practice likewise.

Indicative articles:

Lehner, O. M. (2014). The formation and interplay of social capital in crowdfunded social ventures. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 26(5-6).

Lehner, O. M., & Nicholls, A. (2014). Social finance and crowdfunding for social enterprises: a public–private case study providing legitimacy and leverage. Venture Capital, 16(3), 271-286.

Lehner, O. M. (2013). Crowdfunding social ventures: a model and research agenda. Venture Capital, 15(4), 289-311.