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The representativeness heuristic in judgements involving entrepreneurial success and failure

Wickham, Philip A. (2003) The representativeness heuristic in judgements involving entrepreneurial success and failure. Management decision, 41 (2). pp. 156-167. ISSN 0025-1747

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Abstract

The representativeness heuristic generates a decision-bias encouraging over-estimation of the probability of low likelihood events when they are associated with strongly context representative propositions. An experimental investigation into decision making by final year business undergraduates demonstrates that this heuristic operates and consistently affects subjects’ judgement of the probability of probe details about an entrepreneur in the representativeness-generating context of the future success or failure of a proposed venture by that entrepreneur. The results suggest that the representativeness heuristic could hinder the quality of managerial decision making, especially decisions involving investment in new ventures. Evidence is generated in favour of a specifically cognitive source for this bias as opposed to a semantic mechanism proposed by some workers. This study adds to the growing literature on the representativeness bias in managerial decision making but is believed to be the first to consider it in an entrepreneurial context.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Schools: The Business School
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Depositing User: Cherry Edmunds
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2009 10:00
Last Modified: 21 Jan 2009 10:19
URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/3156

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