Applying Factorial Surveys for Analyzing Complex, Morally Challenging and Sensitive Topics in Entrepreneurship Research: The Case of Entrepreneurial Ethics

  • Petra DickelEmail author
  • Peter Graeff
Part of the FGF Studies in Small Business and Entrepreneurship book series (FGFS)


This chapter aims at showing the benefits of using vignette based factorial surveys for examining complex and sensitive topics in entrepreneurship, innovation and technology research. The example of research on entrepreneurial ethics is used to illustrate potential methodological problems. A literature review on entrepreneurial ethics shows that factorial surveys have rarely been applied despite its benefits with respect to disentangling the effects of interrelated variables and reduction of social desirability. As the rare reception might be due to lack of knowledge in how to design and carry out such studies, a guideline is provided in how to set up and conduct a factorial survey.


Business ethics Corruption Entrepreneurship Factorial survey Vignette study 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Innovation ResearchChristian-Albrechts University KielKielGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Social SciencesChristian-Albrechts University KielKielGermany

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