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Michl, Theresa; Welpe, Isabell M.; Spörrle, Matthias; Picot, Arnold (July 2009): Cognitive and affective determinants of entrepreneurial decisions experimentally examined. 11th European Congress of Psychology, 07. - 10. July 2009, Oslo, Norway.


Objectives. Our study investigates the role of emotions and cognitions in the pre-entrepreneurial decision-making process, i.e., the process prior to the decision to exploit an entrepreneurial opportunity, which has only looked at by few researchers so far. Methods. An online questionnaire experiment with three different samples, i.e., employees, students, and entrepreneurs (N = 578) using 16 different experimentally manipulated entrepreneurial scenarios was conducted. Results. Findings indicate that the relationship between the characteristics of an entrepreneurial opportunity and the evaluation of it is mediated by cognitive appraisals. Moreover, negative and positive affects moderate the relationship between the evaluation of an entrepreneurial opportunity and the decision to exploit it. Conclusion. This study confirms the central assumption of cognitive appraisal theories of emotion which state that the subjective representation of objective entrepreneurial opportunities better predicts the decision to exploit an entrepreneurial opportunity than the objective characteristics of the entrepreneurial situation.