The Effects of the Small Business Founder's Need for Cognition on Early Stage Performance

  • John Leaptrott Georgia Southern University


This study assesses the relationship between the need for cognition and early stage organizational performance for a sample of small business owners who started new childcare ventures. Their need for cognition was assessed as a predictor of performance that was measured by sales growth. The data supported a significant positive relationship between need for cognition and performance as predicted. This study suggests that the cognitive characteristics of small business owners can influence the performance of their businesses.


Download data is not yet available.


Agnoli, F. (1991). Development of judgmental heuristics and logical reasoning: Training counteracts the representativeness heuristic. Cognitive Development, 6: 195-217.

Agnoli, F., & Krantz, D. H. (1989). Suppressing natural heuristics by formal instruction: The case of the conjunction fallacy. Cognitive Psychology, 21: 515-550.

Baron, R. A. (2004). The cognitive perspective: A valuable tool for answering entrepreneurship's basic "why" questions. Journal of Business Venturing, 19: 221-239.

Baron, R.A. & Ensley, M. D. (2006) Opportunity recognition as the detection of meaningful patterns: Evidence from comparisons of novice and experienced entrepreneurs. Management Science, 52: 1331-1344.

Beal, R. M. (2000). Competing effectively: Environmental scanning, competitive strategy, and organizational performance in small manufacturing firms. Journal of Small Business Management, 38(1): 27-47.

Cacioppo, J. T., & Petty, R. E. (1982). The need for cognition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 42: 116-131.

Cacioppo, J. T., Petty, R. E., Feinstein, J. A., & Jarvis, W. B. G. (1996). Dispositional differences in cognitive motivation: The life and times of individuals varying in need for cognition. Psychological Bulletin, 119(2): 197-253.

Cooper, A. C., Folta, T. B" & Woo, C. (1995). Entrepreneurial information search. Journal of Business Venturing, 10: 107-120.

Das, S., Echambadi, R., McCardle, M., & Luckett, M. (2003). The effect of interpersonal trust, need for cognition, and social loneliness on shopping, information seeking and surfing the Web. Marketing Letters, 14(3): 185-202.

Dimarob, M. (2005, February 10). Vast majority of small firms employ fewer than 10, stay close to home, study finds. N.F.I.B. Press release. Retrieved May 25, 2007 from http://www.nfib. com/object.10_20251 .html.

Dobni, C. B., & Luffman, G. (2003). Determining the scope and impact of market orientation profiles on strategy implementation and performance. Strategic Management Journal, 24: 577-585.

Epstein, S. (1994). Integration of the cognitive and psychodynamic unconscious. American Psychologist, 49: 709-724.

Finucane, M. L., Alhakami, A., Slovic, P., & Johnson, S. M. (2000). The affect heuristic in judgments of risks and benefits. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 13: 1-17.

Forte, M., Hoffman, J. J., Lamont, B. T, & Brockmann, E. N. (2000). Organizational form and environment: An analysis of between-form and within-form responses to environmental change. Strategic Management Journal, 21: 753-773.

Gilbert, D. T. (1989). Thinking lightly about others: Automatic components of the social inference process. In: J. Uleman & J.A. Bargh (Eds). Unintended thought (pp. 189-211). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Gilbert, D. T. (1991). How mental systems believe. American Psychologist, 46: 107-119.

Gilbert, D. T. (2002). Inferential correction. In: T. Gilovich, D. Griffin, & D.

Kahneman (Eds), Heuristics & biases (pp. 167-184). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Kahneman, D. (2003). A perspective on judgment and choice: Mapping bounded rationality. American Psychologist, 58: 697-720.

Karp, T. (2006). The inner entrepreneur: A constructionist view of entrepreneurial reality construction. Journal of Change Management, 6: 291-304.

Krueger, N. F. (2007). What lies beneath? The experiential essence of entrepreneurial thinking. Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice, 31: 123-138.

Markman, G. D., Balkin, D. B. & Baron, R. A. (2002). Inventors and new venture formation: The effects of general self-efficacy and regretful thinking. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 27: 149-165.

Miles, R. E., & Snow, C C (1978). Organizational strategy, structure and process. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Mitchell, R. K., Busenitz, L. W., Bird, B., Gaglio, C. M., McMullen, J. S., Morse, E. A. & Smith, J. B. (2007). The central question in entrepreneurial cognition research 2007. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 31: 1-27.

Newby, R., Watson, J. & Woodliff, D. (2003). SME survey methodology: Response rates, data quality, and cost effectiveness. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 28: 163-172.

Nisbett, R. E., Krantz, D. H., Jepson, C, & Kunda, Z. (1983). The use of statistical heuristics in everyday inductive reasoning. Psychological Review, 90: 339-363.

Pelham, A. M. (1999). Influence of environment, strategy, and market orientation on performance in small manufacturing firms. Journal of Business Research, 45: 33-46.

Shafir, E., & LeBoeuf, R. A. (2002). Rationality. In S. A. Fiske, D.L. Schacter & C Zahn-Waxler (Eds). Annual Review of Psychology (pp. 491-517). Palo Alto, CA: Annual Reviews.

Sloman, S. A. (1996). The empirical case for two systems of reasoning. Psychological Bulletin, 119(1): 3-22.

Sloman, S. A. (2002). Two systems of reasoning. In: T. Gilovich, D. Griffin, & D. Kahneman (Eds). Heuristics and biases: The psychology of intuitive judgment (pp. 379-396). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Stanovich, K. E., & West, R. F. (1999). Discrepancies between normative and descriptive models of decision-making and the understanding acceptance principal. Cognitive Psychology, 38: 349-385.

Stanovich, K. E., & West, R. F. (2000). Individual differences in reasoning: Implications for the rationality debate. Behavior and Brain Sciences, 23: 645-665.

Stanovich, K. E., & West, R. F. (2002). Individual differences in reasoning: Implications for the rationality debate. In: T. Gilovich, D. Griffin, & D. Kahneman (Eds). Heuristics and biases (pp. 421-440). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Schweitzer, T., (2007, January 18). Not only the lonely become entrepreneurs. Retrieved May 25,2007 from

Thompson, E. P., Chaiken, S., & Hazelwood, J. D. (1993). Need for cognition and desire for control as moderators of extrinsic reward effects: A person ? situation approach to the study of intrinsic motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64: 987-999.

United States Census Bureau (2004) Statistics of U. S. businesses: 2004: All indu-stries United States. Retrieved May 25, 2007 from http://census. gov/epcd/latest/us/US~.HTM.

Venkatraman, N., & Prescott, J. E. (1990). Environment-strategy coalignment: An empirical test of its performance implications. Strategic Management Journal, 11: 1-23.

Verplanken, B. (1993). Need for cognition and external information search: Responses to time pressure during decision-making. Journal of Research in Personality, 27: 238-252.
How to Cite
LEAPTROTT, John. The Effects of the Small Business Founder's Need for Cognition on Early Stage Performance. Journal of Small Business Strategy, [S.l.], v. 18, n. 2, p. 77-88, may 2007. ISSN 2380-1751. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 18 apr. 2019.