Head vs Heart: Antecedents and Performance Outcomes of Scientific versus Intuitive Entrepreneurial Action

TUM Main Campus
Room 3539
Arcisstr. 21
80333 München
15 Nov 2023
11:00 am (Central European Time)

Authors: Thomas Zellweger (St.Gallen)


Abstract: We investigate the antecedents and performance consequences of scientific versus intuitive action in entrepreneurship. We first use qualitative data from 50 interviews to develop a conceptual model that links formative experiences in entrepreneurs’ lives prior to starting their ventures (imprints) to the entrepreneurial action mode they adopt (intuitive versus scientific action mode), and ultimately new venture size. We then conduct a quantitative study of 184 other entrepreneurs that lends quantitative support to the qualitatively derived propositions. We find that positive imprints, hence formative early life experiences with positive implications for the entrepreneur, foster intuitive action, which is associated with smaller ventures. In contrast, negative imprints, hence formative early life experiences with negative implications for the entrepreneur, are linked to scientific action, which is associated with larger ventures. In our second study, we surveyed 429 active entrepreneurs to test the boundaries of our theory. The results also support our framework. In a third study, we conduct an experiment with 473 participants to establish causality and show that imprint manipulation causes the predicted action mode choice. Our study contributes to the literature on the micro-foundations of entrepreneurial action, scientific and intuitive entrepreneurial action, and imprinting theory.


Host: Melanie Richards