Entrepreneurs: Intuitive or Contemplative Decision Makers?

Martin Koudstaal, Randolph Sloof, Mirjam Van Praag

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In a large survey (n = 1928), we examine whether entrepreneurs differ in their decision-making style from managers and employees. Besides two self-reported measures taken from psychology, we build on Rubinstein (Quarterly Journal of Economics 131: 859–890, 2016) by including two behavioral measures derived from response times and the nature of the strategic choices made. Supporting conventional wisdom, entrepreneurs report a stronger Faith in Intuition than others. Their actual choices are partly in line with this: entrepreneurs make indeed more intuitive choices than managers, but are equally intuitive as employees. At the same time, entrepreneurs have response times and a self-reported Need for Cognition that exceeds those of employees. Together, these findings tentatively suggest that entrepreneurs start from a stronger predisposition to choose the intuitive action, but share with managers that they take more time to think things over and thereby are more inclined to move away from their instant intuitive choice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSmall Business Economics
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)901-920
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Entrepreneurs
  • Contemplativeness
  • Response times
  • Faith in intuition
  • Need for cognition
  • Lab-in-the-field experiment

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