THE ROAD LESS INTENDED: INTEGRATING ENTREPRENEURIAL COGNITION AND RISK IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION
SAULO D. BARBOSA
BRETT R. SMITH
In this paper, we review recent developments in the fields of cognitive theory and risk in order to highlight generally overlooked dilemmas in entrepreneurship education. Such dilemmas concern the amount of planning necessary to succeed in creating a new business and the extent to which educators should boost students' intentions and self perceptions. We suggest that integrating research on entrepreneurial cognition and risk provides a theoretical perspective that enables the identification of these dilemmas and guides practice in a more effective and balanced way. We introduce two modes of thinking â analysis and intuition â and succinctly layout their implications in terms of risk throughout the different phases of the entrepreneurial process, including the development of entrepreneurial intentions and the passage to action. We then present an entrepreneurship education program conceived to develop both kinds of thinking and to minimize risks by providing students a knowledge-resource base that can enable them to critically examine their projects and then proceed down the road of transforming intentions into action if so desired. In presenting such a program, we show how a sequence of entrepreneurship education experiences may help to develop both the analytic and intuitive skills necessary to succeed in the different aspects of the entrepreneurial process.
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