Self-regulation and decision heuristics in entrepreneurial opportunity evaluation and exploitation

Peter Bryant*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The paper seeks to explore the role of self-regulation in the use of decision heuristics by entrepreneurs. Design/methodology/approach - An exploratory mixed-methods study incorporating qualitative and quantitative data, and generating propositions to guide future research and practice. Findings - The findings suggest that entrepreneurs use heuristics frequently in relation to the evaluation of opportunities, but rely on more systematic decision means during the exploitation phase. In addition, entrepreneurs appear to employ heuristics in an effective fashion by using skills of self-regulation. This finding questions widespread assumptions about the inherent bias and cognitive errors associated with this type of entrepreneurial decision-making. Research limitations/implications - Being an exploratory study of a relatively small sample, the findings are tentative and not generalized to a wider population. However, the study implies that future researchers should explore these topics in greater depth. Practical implications - Self-regulatory skills can be primed and enhanced using systematic interventions and the study suggests that these techniques could be used to improve the education and management of heuristic decision making by entrepreneurs. Originality/value - This study is one of the first to explore the complex role played by self-regulation in the use of heuristics by entrepreneurs, and also one of the first to explore the conditions surrounding the use of specific decision heuristics. The study also adopts an original approach by assuming that heuristics may be effective and rational decision means.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)732-748
Number of pages17
JournalManagement Decision
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Decision making
  • Entrepreneurialism
  • Regulation


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