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 9: To thine own self be true: Images of self, images of opportunity, and entrepreneurial action

J Robert. Mitchell and Dean A. Shepherd


Previous research in entrepreneurship indicates that entrepreneurs make decisions about opportunities based on fit with an ideal image of an opportunity. Interestingly, the images of experienced entrepreneurs versus novice entrepreneurs are different. Whereas novice entrepreneurs’ images of opportunity are based on newness and uniqueness, experienced entrepreneurs’ images of opportunity are based on profitability and feasibility. What this research suggests is that just as opportunities are not all the same, there are also distinct differences in entrepreneurs: and that these differences in entrepreneurs can affect their perceptions and decisions about opportunities. The purpose of our study is to identify a set of relevant differences in entrepreneurs and to investigate how these differences affect their images of opportunities. By so doing, we inform the question of “why, when, and how some people and not others discover and exploit opportunities”(Shane and Venkataraman, 2000, p.219).

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