Despite the importance of the ability to exploit opportunities for new venture creation, few empirical studies have examined the antecedents to opportunity exploitation. Our paper specifically examines the influence of internal predictors and the environment on individuals’ propensity to exploit novel opportunities in the context of new-technology based firms (NTBF). Extending the contribution of recent studies on the impact of “successful intelligence” on entrepreneurial decision-making, we postulate that the entrepreneur’s critical thinking ability, a core component of Sternberg’s “theory of triarchic intelligence” is a significant factor influencing the novelty of opportunity exploitation.

However, scholars have affirmed that personality, an independent construct from cognition influences the way critical thinking is directed and exploited. The logic is that two people with comparative levels of critical thinking but varying levels of personalities will respond differently to the knowledge and know-how they possess.

Additionally, the environment literature provides ample evidence that unpredictable environments create more opportunities for entrepreneurs to innovate and explore new ideas. Taken as a whole, we contend that highly critical entrepreneurs who are high in extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, emotional stability and openness to experience have higher propensity to exploit novel opportunities in unstable environments.