A Psychological Approach to Entrepreneurship
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A Psychological Approach to Entrepreneurship

Selected Essays of Dean A. Shepherd

Dean A. Shepherd

Within an entrepreneurial context, what a person thinks and feels and how they behave are hugely consequential. Entrepreneurs often work in scenarios of considerable time pressure, task complexity, uncertainty and high performance variance. This fascinating volume explores the unique psychological qualities of individuals directly involved in the entrepreneurial process.
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Chapter 2: The Formation of Opportunity Beliefs: Overcoming Ignorance and Reducing Doubt

Dean A. Shepherd, Jeffery S. McMullen and P. Devereaux Jennings


Whether discussed as expectations, knowledge, means, real options, scenarios, or contingencies, beliefs play a central role in models of human action that presume logical actors facing uncertain futures. Yet scholars ranging from such diverse fields as institutional economics (e.g., North, 2005), strategic management (e.g., Foss, 2007), and visual cognition (e.g., Rensink, 2002), are in general agreement that we have little scientific understanding of where beliefs come from and how they are formed. As Hastie (2001) observed, however, the decisions that beget human action are the product of beliefs. Therefore, scholarly understanding of decision making and human action is logically dependent upon a better understanding of the source, formation, and effect of beliefs on various human processes that are considered central to social science in general and organizational and managerial studes in particular.

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