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          Developing Entrepreneurial Expertise: Cognitive Entrenchment and Decision Incongruence


          Jana Thiel Sung Min Kim Jan Brinckmann

          Recent research has produced concern about incongruence (the gap between conveyed and actual decision rationale) in strategic opportunity evaluation. Such incongruence can lead to inefficient decision-making, ineffective learning and will subsequently have performance implications in the entrepreneurial process. In this article we build on cognitive theory to investigate individual differences in opportunity-related decisions incongruence. Our assertion is that decision congruence is in large part based on the salience of the decision makers’ opportunity schema—formed through cognitive entrenchment—that is facilitated or impeded by individuals’ images of self. In a study on 146 individuals with in total 7,008 opportunity decisions we investigate how images of vulnerability and capability affect opportunity decision congruence. The results indicate that the images of vulnerability negatively impact congruent decision making, while images of capability have a U-shaped effect on decision incongruence. Our findings extend prior literature on cognitive reasoning in opportunity evaluation and entrepreneurial expertise.

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