Research on characteristics of entrepreneurs has generally focused on personality traits and demographics. Less attention has been devoted to behavioral characteristics of entrepreneurs. Corporate entrepreneurs need to develop a personal style or approach to the entrepreneurial process, and their styles are likely to include a number of behavioral characteristics. In a study in which start-up entrepreneurs were compared to corporate managers, Busenitz and Barney (1997) demonstrate that entrepreneurs are more liekly than corporate managers to employ certain biases and heuristics when making decisions. Two specific biases and heuristics emphasized by entrepreneurs follow:

The tendency for a decision-maker to be overly optimistic in their initial assessment of a situation, and to be slow to subsequently incorporate additional information about a situation into their assessment because of their initial overconfidence.

A willingness to generalize about a person or phenomenon based on only a few attributes of that person or only a few observations of a specified phenomenon. In effect, small, non-random samples of data are being relied upon. The unreliability inherent in such limited data is ignored or underestimated by the decision-maker.

These short cuts allow the entrepreneur to decipher lots of inputs efficiently and make quick decisions under conditions of uncertainty. As corporate entrepreneurs deal with much of the same uncertainty, they might be expected to rely on some of the same biases and heuristics. At the same time, reliance on them makes the corporate entrepreneur vulnerable to attack from within, as the corporate environment typically places a premium on systematic data collection and conservative interpretation of information.

Source: For the complete study, see Busenitz, L and J. Barney. 1997. "Difference Between Entreprneurs and Managers in Large Organizations: Baises and Hueristics in Strategic Decision-Making," Journal of Business Venturing 12, No. 1: 9-30.

Original source: Morris and Kuratko (2002). Corporate Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurial Development within Organization, Thomson south-Western. (page 334, Table 16.1)

Posted by Jeonghwan Choi

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