Faculty Column: Entrepreneurial Decision Making

Courtesy: www.cariereonline.ro
Courtesy: www.cariereonline.ro

By Professor Robert Hisrich

Entrepreneurship is an approach to decision making that is the essence of startup companies, corporate entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, technology entrepreneurship, governpreneurship (government entrepreneurship), and, when it occurs, university entrepreneurship. This entrepreneurial approach will continue to increase in the 21st century due to rapidly changing technology, more informed consumer markets, shorter product life cycles, hypercompetition, new market opportunities, changing consumer values and tastes, and availability of capital, though more difficult to obtain and more expensive.

What are the aspects of this type of decision making: creativity, risk-taking, persistence, handling ambiguity, passion for the idea and venture, learning from failure, independent thinking, wanting to create something new of value, and both options might be possible versus either/or. Will everyone be able to employ this different type of decision making? Not at all as seen in the following two examples.

A student in my Global Business Plan class here at Thunderbird developed a great idea that required a partnership with American Express and an initial capital raise of $275,000. Just before graduation, she was able to achieve both and when I congratulated her in my office, tears came into her eyes and she said, “I just can’t do it.” Why couldn’t she do it? Not just due to the financial and social risks, which of course were there, but because of the psychological risk – she could not live with the possibility of failure.

The opposite occurred with another student in my Global Business Plan course who did not undertake her online venture right after graduation. Instead, she worked for two years for Kimberly Clark and proudly emailed me this fall, “I did it – here is my website.”

Similar stories occur throughout the world each and every day as individuals who decide to become entrepreneurs come from all academic backgrounds, all ages, all educational backgrounds, and all walks of life. They each enjoy entrepreneurial decision making whether as part of an organization or as an independent entrepreneur in the profit, not-for-profit or government sectors.

Are you someone who can just do it? If so, your road will be “one less traveled by and that makes all the difference.”

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