Entrepreneurial Thinking: A Study of Cognitive Styles in Small Businesses

By Darren Lee-Ross.

Published by The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: December 19, 2014 $US5.00

The purpose of this study was to identify and explore the cognitive decision-making styles used by small business owners across a range of Australian businesses. Primary data were gathered randomly from a sample of micro and small business owners using an electronic survey populated by items taken from three existing questionnaires. Earlier findings showed that managers use both intuition and rational information processing styles, paired with both local and global and organizing styles. The former were identified as complementary and used simultaneously in decision-making. The global information organizing style was also found to be linked positively with intuition. Unlike earlier studies of cognitive styles, information processing and global thinking were context-dependent, whereas local thinking was context-independent. However, their hypothesized relationship with the environment and its moderating effects on performance were only partially supported. Several ambiguous relationships need to be addressed in future studies of cognitive styles, including those between intuition and financial performance, style and strategy, and cognitive processing and organizing. The sample was both numerically and geographically constrained. More comprehensive research needs to address these issues. Context dependency suggests that thinking styles are learnable, and as such, may be useful for entrepreneurial self-development for improved decision making and more effective commercial performance. Despite some interest in the area of cognitive decision making, the present study focused on micro and small businesses; much extant associated activity has only been forthcoming in larger organizations. Additionally, this research verifies the role of intuition in decision making and confirms the position of logical thinking.

Keywords: Intuition/Logic, Decision-making, Cognitive Style, Entrepreneurs/Small Business Owners

The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice, Volume 8, Issue 2, January 2015, pp.1-16. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: December 19, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 622.312KB)).

Dr. Darren Lee-Ross

Director of Postgraduate Studies, School of Business, James Cook University, Cairns, QLD, Australia