CEO? Entrepreneur? Scientist? The Title You Choose Sends a Message

Startup founders should think carefully before choosing, because some titles suggest competence, while others suggest warmth

Entrepreneurs should consider using different titles based on the situation.

Photo: WSJ, photos: iStock

Choosing your own job title is one of the freedoms of being an entrepreneur. But be careful—the title you choose can make a difference in how you’re perceived.

香蕉视频苹果下载published in the Journal of Business Venturing Insights from University College London academics James Berry and Janice Sanchez. The authors discovered that founders who use the title “entrepreneur” are seen as less competent than founders who call themselves “CEO” or “scientist.”

On the other hand, those who dub themselves entrepreneurs are seen as “warmer” than others—good-natured, sincere and trustworthy.

The importance of trust

That means that business owners should think carefully about which title they use in which context, say the authors of the study, which surveyed 286 people to determine societal perceptions of four different titles—entrepreneur, scientist, advertiser and CEO—in terms of competence and warmth.

“Remember that when you’re shaking somebody’s hand, what you say doesn’t have to mirror what’s written on your business card,” Dr. Berry says.

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