Susana C. Santos, Craig Mitchell, Hans Landström, Alain Fayolle and António Caetano
Sílvia Fernandes Costa, António Caetano, Arjan J. Frederiks and Susana C. Santos
Entrepreneurial cognition emphasizes the role of mental structures to explain how entrepreneurs think and act. The literature presents several perspectives on what these mental structures might be. Several studies have used the prototype perspective to explain entrepreneurial activities. Prototypes are abstract mental representations of objects or events, necessary to perform recognition and categorization processes, such as opportunity recognition. Even though prototype theory is very well rooted in cognitive psychology, there is no conceptual overview on how prototypes explain entrepreneurial activity. In this study we focus on prototype theory within entrepreneurship research, to have a deeper understanding on how these cognitive structures trigger entrepreneurial activity. A better understanding of prototype theory within entrepreneurship research, contributes to a better understanding of what prototypes are, and how prototypes can explain how entrepreneurs think and act. Therefore, in this chapter we have three main goals: (1) we aim to understand the foundations of entrepreneurial cognition within cognitive psychology; (2) to identify how prototype theory has been used within entrepreneurship research; and (3) to draw conclusions for future research on the predictors of entrepreneurial activities at a cognitive level, mainly at the opportunity recognition stage. Based on both our findings and the gaps in the literature that we identified, we present a research agenda for better understanding of the use of prototypes in entrepreneurship.
Susana C. Santos, António Caetano, Sílvia Fernandes Costa and Xaver Neumeyer
This study describes the entrepreneurial potential dimensions at different stages of the entrepreneurship process for individuals with different levels of entrepreneurial experience. We used the entrepreneurial potential construct and inventory to measure the most relevant individual characteristics associated with the preparedness to engage in entrepreneurial activities. Based on the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) model, we compared five groups of individuals with different entrepreneurial experience: nascent entrepreneurs, own-managers of young firms, owner-managers of established firms, future entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs. The results showed that entrepreneurial potential dimensions evidence different patterns among individuals with and without entrepreneurial experience. These results contribute to capturing a person-situation perspective in entrepreneurship. This mapping of different competency levels associated with different entrepreneurial experiences has practical implications, and it gives important clues for targeted training activities for the promotion of entrepreneurship.