Entrepreneurs: intuitive or contemplative decision-makers?

Martin Koudstaal, Randolph Sloof*, Mirjam van Praag

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    In a large survey (n = 1928), we examine whether entrepreneurs differ in their decision-making style from managers and employees. Besides two self-reported measures taken from psychology, we build on Rubinstein (Quarterly Journal of Economics 131: 859–890, 2016) by including two behavioral measures derived from response times and the nature of the strategic choices made. Supporting conventional wisdom, entrepreneurs report a stronger Faith in Intuition than others. Their actual choices are partly in line with this: entrepreneurs make indeed more intuitive choices than managers, but are equally intuitive as employees. At the same time, entrepreneurs have response times and a self-reported Need for Cognition that exceeds those of employees. Together, these findings tentatively suggest that entrepreneurs start from a stronger predisposition to choose the intuitive action, but share with managers that they take more time to think things over and thereby are more inclined to move away from their instant intuitive choice.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)901-920
    Number of pages20
    JournalSmall Business Economics
    Issue number4
    Early online date14 Nov 2019
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


    • Contemplativeness
    • Entrepreneurs
    • Faith in Intuition
    • Lab-in-the-field experiment
    • Need for Cognition
    • Response times


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