Abstract

Research on entrepreneurial decision making has already demonstrated that decisions can be affected by entrepreneurs’ cognitive biases (e.g., Baron, 2004). But although many ventures are started by entrepreneurial teams (Chowdhury, 2005), biases at the team level have been neglected in entrepreneurship research. Due to heterogeneous backgrounds (e.g., Ucbasaran, et al., 2003) entrepreneurial team members are likely to have information unknown to other members. For high quality decisions it is crucial that members make unshared information accessible for the whole team. However, team discussions are often biased in a way that teams speak more about common information than about information uniquely possessed by single members (e.g., Stasser & Titus, 1985).

This study investigates how biases at the level of entrepreneurial teams impact decision processes, in particular during opportunity evaluation decisions. We take into account the specific nature of the entrepreneurial context, the substantial uncertainty that surrounds entrepreneurial decision making (McMullen & Shepherd, 2006). As high levels of environmental uncertainty entail heuristics and biased decision-making (Busenitz & Barney, 1997), we postulate that high levels of uncertainty facilitate the development of these team-level biases during the decision process and will consequently result in lower decision quality.

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