Edited by Angela A. Stanton, Mellani Day and Isabell M. Welpe
Chapter 3: What You Think Is Not What You Think: Unconsciousness and Entrepreneurial Behavior
3. What you think is not what you think: unconsciousness and entrepreneurial behavior Eden S. Blair INTRODUCTION An entrepreneur who develops fitness equipment comes home from a long day at work. She has spent the past week thinking about new ideas, drawing figures on white boards and in journals and talking to others about their fitness needs with frustratingly few results. She sits down and relaxes in front of the television. Twenty minutes later, she sits up straight, excited about a new idea to improve the way people strengthen their back, arm and leg muscles. Her new device allows people to lie on their stomachs and use a pulley system to move their legs and arms as if they were swimming. The entrepreneur believes that she can make this relatively inexpensively and that it will sell well. The entrepreneur tells others, and believes herself, that her idea was developed after long hours of deep thought and introspection. In fact, the idea was unconsciously and almost instantaneously triggered from seeing a hawk gliding through a car commercial. There is often an assumption that most work in organizations is based on slow, deliberate and conscious thought processes (Locke and Latham, 2002). In fact, much of people’s behavior seems to be based on unconscious1 control (Bargh, 2005). Unconsciousness can be defined as a mental process outside of an individual’s awareness. These unconscious processes are much faster than conscious deliberations and occur with little or no awareness (Bargh, 1997). This chapter is designed to...
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