Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

College of Business

Committee Chair

Dubofsky, David A.

Committee Member

Fiet, James O.

Committee Member

Chao, Yong

Committee Member

Adelson, Jill L.


Entrepreneurship--Psychological aspects; Businesspeople--Psychology; Risk-taking (Psychology)


This research addresses the question of why some people become entrepreneurs whereas others do not. The debate has been going on for decades in entrepreneurship. In this dissertation, I address this question by decomposing it into two related questions. The first question is whether entrepreneurs make different decisions compared to non-entrepreneurs when they are facing the same opportunities under risk. The second question is whether these differences in decision-making (if any) are due to the natural proclivity of entrepreneurs themselves. To identify the differences of entrepreneurial decision-making between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs, this study investigates the nexus between entrepreneurs and opportunities from both aspects simultaneously. From an entrepreneur’s aspect, based on dual-process theory, I examine how different styles of entrepreneurial thinking influence their decision-making. Considering an opportunity itself, based on prospect theory, I test how different types of opportunity framing influence entrepreneurial decision-making. The results indicate that entrepreneurs have lower evaluations than non-entrepreneurs do when they are facing the same opportunities under risk. The opportunities in a loss frame have higher evaluations than those in a gain frame. The evaluations are higher in System 2 thinking than in System 1 thinking. The findings suggest that entrepreneurs do make different decisions than non-entrepreneurs and that these differences are more likely due to the natural proclivities of at least some entrepreneurs. These findings provide new insights for the entrepreneurial decision-making literature and enlighten some promising future research.