Abstract

Prior experiences are important because they impact the way in which entrepreneurs think, which in turn, influences the choices they make (Busenitz & Lau, 1997). A burgeoning body of research explores the relationship between how entrepreneurs think and the identification, evaluation, and exploitation of opportunities (Haynie, Shepherd, & McMullen, 2009; Simon, Houghton, & Aquino, 2000). Although important, these studies have largely ignored the experiences, events, and idiosyncratic factors that predate entrepreneurs’ efforts and action, and how they may influence how entrepreneurs think about opportunities: now and in their envisioned futures (Grégoire, Corbett, & McMullen, 2011). By drawing from the literature in entrepreneurial action and identity and integrating it with theory on imprinting from psychology, we address the question: Which spheres of influence have a lasting impact on entrepreneurs’ decision-making and their ventures’ development trajectories?

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