Intuition versus Analysis? Testing Differential Models of Cognitive Style on Entrepreneurial Self-Efficacy and the New Venture Creation Process

By Kickul, Jill; Gundry, Lisa K. et al. | Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, March 2009 | Go to article overview

Intuition versus Analysis? Testing Differential Models of Cognitive Style on Entrepreneurial Self-Efficacy and the New Venture Creation Process


Kickul, Jill, Gundry, Lisa K., Barbosa, Saulo D., Whitcanack, Laney, Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice


This research revealed the significant role of two distinct cognitive styles as a determinant of perceived entrepreneurial self-efficacy regarding the different stages of the new venture process. The study found that individuals' cognitive preference for analysis or intuition influences their perception and assessment of their entrepreneurial self- efficacy in their intentions to create a new venture. Individuals with the intuitive cognitive style were more confident in their ability to identify and recognize opportunities, without much confidence in their capacity of assessment, evaluation, planning, and marshalling of resources. Conversely, individuals with the analytic cognitive style were more confident in their abilities to assess, evaluate, plan, and marshal resources, but felt less confident in their abilities to search for and recognize new opportunities.

Introduction

Within the last three decades, research has indicated that intentions are a reliable--and for many the most effective--predictor of actual behavior (Ajzen, 1991; Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980; Krueger & Carsrud, 1993; Shaver & Scott, 1991). Intentions are heavily influenced by individuals' perceptions of their own abilities regarding skill sets (i.e., self-efficacy, Bird, 1988; Krueger, Reilly, & Carsrud, 2000). Over the years, entrepreneurship scholars have focused on the decision to pursue an entrepreneurial career, demonstrating the connection between entrepreneurial self-efficacy and career intention. However, little has been done to examine the role of cognitive style in the development of entrepreneurial self-efficacy within the context of the new venture creation process.

Cognitive style is widely recognized as an important determinant of individual behavior in the psychology literature (Sadler-Smith & Badger, 1998) and has been conceptualized as "a high-order heuristic that individuals employ when they approach, frame, and solve problems" (Brigham, De Castro, & Shepherd, 2007, p. 31). As individuals approach the possibility of becoming entrepreneurs and think about the different skills required to create a new venture, their cognitive styles may indeed foster some self- perceptions and inhibit others, enhancing different types of self-efficacy.

New venture creation is typically conceptualized in terms of broad stages (e.g., Timmons, 2005) such as searching for opportunities, planning for the new venture, marshalling resources, and implementation. These stages can be nonlinear and iterative, being perceived by aspiring entrepreneurs through the lens of different cognitive styles.

Little is known about the ways in which cognitive styles facilitate or inhibit an individual's ability or entrepreneurial self-efficacy when confronting the challenges associated with the different stages of the venture creation process.

Thus, our goal in the present study is to assess the role of cognitive style in the relationship between entrepreneurial self-efficacy and intentions to be an entrepreneur, taking into account the diverse set of activities that must be carried out during the new venture creation process. This study adds to the literature on entrepreneurial intentions in two fundamental ways:

1. Each stage of the new venture process has unique demands that call on specific cognitive skills or abilities; this research further investigates the ways in which the cognitive styles of individuals influence their perceived entrepreneurial self- efficacy regarding particular stages in the new venture creation process.

2. Based on our findings, recommendations are offered for further research and to inform practice with regard to the effective creation of new business ventures.

Cognitive Style and Entrepreneurial Cognition Cognitive style refers to an individual's preferred and habitual approach to organizing, representing, and processing information (Streufert & Nogami, 1989). …

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