Academic journal article International Journal of Entrepreneurship

Think Entrepreneurially Entrepreneurs vs. Non-Entrepreneurs Cognitive Profiles

Academic journal article International Journal of Entrepreneurship

Think Entrepreneurially Entrepreneurs vs. Non-Entrepreneurs Cognitive Profiles

Article excerpt


Based on the analysis of recent theoretical models proposing to describe and explain the onset and development of entrepreneurial initiatives, it seems the combination and integration of various factors (individual, social and contextual) to lead to an entrepreneurial aptitude.

Among the individual factors, researchers have been interested in the entrepreneurial cognition or the entrepreneurial mind-set; in other words, in understanding if and when individually think in an entrepreneurial way. "What kind of thought help the entrepreneurs create value and wealth through the identification and implementation of new market opportunities?" "What do we mean when we refer to the entrepreneurial thinking?" are the most common questions. Referring to the entrepreneurial cognition, two main fields have been studied: the cognitive processes underlying the entrepreneurial initiative (Krueger and Carsrud, 1993; Krueger, Reilly and Carsrud, 2000; Busenitz et al., 2003; Krueger, 2003; Mitchell et al., 2004; Baron, Byrne and Branscombe, 2005) and the cognitive skills recognized to be essential to entrepreneurial success (e.g. entrepreneurial alertness) (Amato et al., 2017). Since the entrepreneurial spirit is crucial for the cultural, financial, social and human development (Amato and Chirumbolo, 2011; Ratten, 2014; Benevene et al., 2017; Shepherd and Patzelt, 2018), it is worth investigating its related variables in order to understand how to improve and enhance it among young people. In this regard, it is particularly important to understand the cognitive structure of the entrepreneurial cognition, because entrepreneurship precisely stems from entrepreneurial thinking (Baron, 2004; Krueger, 2000; Krueger and Brazeal, 1994; Kuratko, 2016; Shepherd and Krueger, 2002).

The entrepreneurial cognition is defined as a structure of knowledge that people use to make assessments, report judgments, make decisions about the analysis of opportunities, the creation and growth of the business (Mitchell et al., 2002). Mitchell et al. (2007) argue that each question contributing to the study of the entrepreneurial cognition suggests basic assumption: "Entrepreneurship concerns itself with distinctive ways of thinking and behaving".

Cognitive Style of Entrepreneurs

Within the researches on the entrepreneurial cognition (Krueger and Kickul, 2006; Dutta and Thornhill, 2014; Knockaert et al., 2015; Adomako et al., 2016; Gemmell, 2017; Kakouris and Liargovas, 2017), there are many systematic studies on the role played by the entrepreneurial cognitive styles. So far these studies have mainly focused on the comparison between two antithetic cognitive styles: the analytical cognitive style and the intuitive cognitive style (Akinci and Sadler-Smith, 2013; Kickul et al., 2009) or more simply, on the intuition (Sadler-Smith, 2016). However, the "intuitive" adjective raises some problems. For example, it is often mistaken for "innate" (Mitchell, Friga and Mitchell, 2005). This interest does not result from the willingness to trace a peculiar characteristic of the cognitive entrepreneurial thinking-at least not in relation to the cognitive styles-but rather from the association of intuition and creativity (Fillis and Rentschler, 2010), with:

a) Innovation (Marcati, Guido and Peluso, 2008).

b) Ability to quickly identify opportunities (Chandler and Jansen, 1992; Allinson, Chell and Hayes, 2000).

c) Speed and efficiency of the entrepreneurial decision-making process (Bennett, 1998; Burke and Miller, 1999; Allinson, Chell and Hayes, 2000).

The application of the Cognitive Style Index (CSI) (Allinson and Hayes, 1996), instead of more multi-faceted instruments, to the entrepreneurship field of research (Barbosa, Gerhardt and Kickul, 2007; Kickul et al., 2009; Armstrong and Hird, 2009) is indicative of a two-dimensional view of the entrepreneurial cognition, where "intuition" (vs. …

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