Decision Making in Entrepreneurship
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Decision Making in Entrepreneurship

Selected Joint Papers of Dean A. Shepherd

Dean A. Shepherd

In this volume, Dean Shepherd focuses on the varying topics of entrepreneurship unified through conjoint analysis. Although the topic of entrepreneurial decision making is broad, in doing so, he reveals the mechanisms that come into play during the entrepreneurial decision-making process.
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Chapter 5: The Decision to Exploit an R & D Project: Divergent Thinking across Middle and Senior Managers

Judith Behrens, Holger Ernst and Dean A. Shepherd


Research and development (R & D) generates projects, but the question often remains: which projects should be exploited? Building on the innovation, strategy, and managerial cognition literatures, we use a conjoint field experiment to collect data on 4032 decisions made by 126 R & D managers to test how project attributes, strategic context, and managers’ characteristics influence innovation exploitation decisions. Using hierarchical linear modeling, we find that (1) experience impacts project exploitation decision policies of middle managers more than senior managers, (2) divergent thinking across middle and senior managers increases with experience, and (3) experienced middle managers diverge from experienced senior managers in their decisions to exploit opportunities by placing greater emphasis on strategic context (relative to competitors and fit within the portfolio) and lesser emphasis on uncertainty (technological and demand). These findings have implications for the strategy and innovation literature.

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