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An investigation of hindsight bias in nascent venture activity

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  • Cassar, Gavin
  • Craig, Justin

Abstract

We posit that individuals who are actively engaged in activities to develop their own venture will exhibit hindsight bias when recalling their startup experiences. We observe that those who fail to develop their startup activity into an operating business demonstrate substantial hindsight bias concerning the probability of venture formation. In particular, the recalled probability of success, reported after their decision to quit, is lower than the probability of success solicited during the nascent process. We argue that the systematic distortion of the past has important implications for individuals involved in the venturing process. Specifically, we suggest that these individuals are at risk of overestimating their chances of success when starting future nascent activity if they do not correct for their optimistic tendencies. The evidence from this study suggests it is important to recognize that what nascent entrepreneurs believe they experienced, and what they actually experienced, may not be equivalent.

Suggested Citation

  • Cassar, Gavin & Craig, Justin, 2009. "An investigation of hindsight bias in nascent venture activity," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 149-164, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbvent:v:24:y:2009:i:2:p:149-164
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Per Davidsson & Scott Gordon, 2012. "Panel studies of new venture creation: a methods-focused review and suggestions for future research," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 39(4), pages 853-876, November.
    2. William Gartner & Kelly Shaver, 2012. "Nascent entrepreneurship panel studies: progress and challenges," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 39(3), pages 659-665, October.
    3. Violetta Bacon-Gerasymenko & Russell Coff & Rodolphe Durand, 2016. "Taking a Second Look in a Warped Crystal Ball: Explaining the Accuracy of Revised Forecasts," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(8), pages 1292-1319, December.
    4. Heiko Bergmann, 2017. "The formation of opportunity beliefs among university entrepreneurs: an empirical study of research- and non-research-driven venture ideas," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 116-140, February.
    5. Rok Stritar & Mateja Drnovšek, 2016. "What entrepreneurs discover when creating opportunities? Insights from Skype and YouTube ventures," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 659-679, September.
    6. Servane Delanoë & Franck Brulhart, 2011. "Analyse des antécédents de l'intention entrepreneuriale des porteurs de projets français," Post-Print halshs-00743793, HAL.
    7. Podoynitsyna, Ksenia & Song, Michael & van der Bij, Hans & Weggeman, Mathieu, 2013. "Improving new technology venture performance under direct and indirect network externality conditions," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 195-210.
    8. Christopher Dawson & David de Meza & Andrew Henley & G. Reza Arabsheibani, 2014. "Entrepreneurship: Cause and Consequence of Financial Optimism," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(4), pages 717-742, December.
    9. Cassar, Gavin, 2014. "Industry and startup experience on entrepreneur forecast performance in new firms," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 137-151.
    10. William Dunkelberg & Carmen Moore & Jonathan Scott & William Stull, 2012. "Do Entrepreneurial Goals Matter? Resource Allocation in New Owner-Managed Firms," DETU Working Papers 1203, Department of Economics, Temple University.
    11. repec:rss:jnljms:v6i2p4 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Julian S. Frankish & Richard G. Roberts & Alex Coad & Taylor C. Spears & David J. Storey, 2013. "Do entrepreneurs really learn? Or do they just tell us that they do?," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 73-106, February.
    13. Dunkelberg, William & Moore, Carmen & Scott, Jonathan & Stull, William, 2013. "Do entrepreneurial goals matter? Resource allocation in new owner-managed firms," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 225-240.

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