Chapter 6: Taking a Second Look at Systematic Search: New Evidence from Experimental Trials
Key ideas This chapter reports on the analysis of the three experimental trials of systematic search, which I described in Chapter 5. It ﬁnds that there are signiﬁcant treatment eﬀects for training in systematic search for three diﬀerent populations across ﬁve performance levels. It provides evidence that the original results were not caused by self-selection, experimenter bias or luck. As more promising discoveries are identiﬁed, other factors come into play. These results provide support for informational economics as a lens that can be used to train aspiring entrepreneurs. They also have important implications for the feasibility of prescriptive research in entrepreneurship. SCHOLARLY REACTIONS TO CONSTRAINED, SYSTEMATIC SEARCH In 2002, I ﬁnished writing The Systematic Search for Entrepreneurial Discoveries, which even its critics acknowledged was a notable departure from received alertness theory. It was one of the ﬁrst calls for more prescriptive research. It was also the ﬁrst prescriptive endorsement for informational economics. It contained an early version of the model presented in Figure 2.1. Even the earlier version of the model was based on the assumption that the ideas exploited are pivotal in determining whether entrepreneurs are or can be successful in creating new wealth. The book was criticized for unspeciﬁed shortcomings with regard to its research methods. Some of these shortcomings might have related to the way I controlled for individual diﬀerences despite the random assignment of subjects to treatment and control groups. Another concern was that experimenter bias could have inﬂuenced...
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