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The Effect of Social Enterprises' Sector Information on People's Perceptions and Behavioral Intentions
Last registered on August 09, 2018


Trial Information
General Information
The Effect of Social Enterprises' Sector Information on People's Perceptions and Behavioral Intentions
Initial registration date
August 06, 2018
Last updated
August 09, 2018 1:41 AM EDT
Primary Investigator
Rutgers University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This study experimentally explores how people's perceptions and behavioral intentions vary according to one social enterprise's sector information (i.e. being a for-profit or a non-profit) and to what extent such variation exists. Theoretically, the sector information helps people to categorize one organization and make judgments about its intentions and expected behaviors. In consequence, categorization based on the sector information will trigger organization stereotypes based on which people make judgments. In this study, two traits for judging an organization, warmth and competence, are examined. Building on previous findings of organization stereotype which suggests nonprofit organizations are warm but incompetent compared with for-profit organizations, this study instead hypothesizes that nonprofits are perceived warmer and more competent than for-profits when the organization has a social mission. In addition, the study further examines how collective judgments on the social enterprise, such as word-of-mouth, affect people's individual judgment about warmth and competence of the organization. It hypothesizes that collective judgments will moderate people's individual judgment based on organization stereotype because endorsements from others are important cognitive heuristic in a passive and effortless cognitive system which predominates people's individual evaluation which is an active and effortful process.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Xu, Chengxin. 2018. "The Effect of Social Enterprises' Sector Information on People's Perceptions and Behavioral Intentions." AEA RCT Registry. August 09. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3104-1.0.
Former Citation
Xu, Chengxin. 2018. "The Effect of Social Enterprises' Sector Information on People's Perceptions and Behavioral Intentions." AEA RCT Registry. August 09. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3104/history/32828.
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Experimental Details
The intervention includes two vignettes of itemized information of two hypothetical social enterprises respectively. The first contains information of an day care center called "Hyde Innovation Child Care and Learning Center", and the second contains information of an recycling company called "Green Recycling". Each vignette is developed as a 3 (sector info: nonprofit, for-profit, no information) times 2 (collective judgments: with/without star ratings) factorial design. Subjects will be firstly randomly assigned into one of six groups, and then again be randomly assigned into another one of six groups to read another vignette. The order of two vignettes (day care center and recycling company) is randomized. In each vignette, sector information is manipulated by tags, domain names, and the description of the organization; the availability of collective judgments is manipulated by showing star ratings or not.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Perceived warmth, perceived competence
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Subjects are asked to report their perceptions of the social enterprise they just read about in terms of 12 traits on warmth and competence with response options going from -50 (not at all) to 50 (very much). The rated traits include three high and three low traits from each dimension (high warmth: warm, caring, generous; low warmth: mean, unfriendly, selfish; high competence: competent, effective, efficient; low competence: slow, weak, disorganized)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
willingness to purchase with, willingness to donate
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
A survey experiment is designed to test if public perceptions will be changed because of the variation of one organization's sector information, and if such effect can be moderated by the information of collective judgment. Subjects (N=1,200) for the experiment will be recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk, and $0.50 incentives will be noticed at the beginning of the experiment and be provided when subjects finished the survey. The survey will take approximately 10 minutes. After reading introductory information, subjects will be asked to read two vignettes (intervention) of two social enterprises (day care center and recycling company) respectively and report their perceptions and behavioral intentions afterward. In each vignettes, the sector information of the organization is manipulated as either "nonprofit", "for-profit business", or no information, and word-of-mouth is manipulated by presenting 4 out of 5 star ratings by 54 raters or presenting no star rating. Therefore, there are 6 conditions for each vignette. After reading one of two vignettes and finishing survey questions, subjects will be randomly assigned again into another 1 of 6 conditions to read the other vignettes. The presenting order of two vignettes is randomized.

After reading each vignette, subjects will be asked to answer several questions to report their perceptions and behavioral intentions of the organization, which are major outcome variables in this experiment. In particular, subjects will be asked to report their perceived warmth and competence of this organization, and whether they are willing to purchase from the organization and to provide goods support. The presenting order of these questions is randomized to avoid ordering effect.
Experimental Design Details
Measurement of perceived warmth and competence is discussed here. I collapse across the six ratings given each group on each dimension. This will be done by averaging the ratings on the three traits that are positively valenced on a dimension and the three traits that were negatively valenced on that dimension and then taking the difference between these two averages. For measuring warmth, ratings contain warmth, generous, friendly, mean, cold, and selfish. For measuring competence, ratings contain competent, effective, efficient, slow, incapable, and weak. The presenting order of these ratings is randomized.
Randomization Method
Randomization will be conducted by the function embedded in Qualtrics online survey platform.
Randomization Unit
The experiment conducts individual level randomization.
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
1,200 people on MTurk will be recruited.
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,200 for each vignette.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
200 individuals for each experimental condition for each vignette.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
Office of Research and Regulatory Affairs, Arts and Sciences IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)