If You Have a Hammer, You Only Look for Nails: The Relationship Between the Einstellung Effect and Business Opportunity Identification

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We use the theory of Einstellung to examine individual differences in business opportunity identification. Einstellung is the tendency to habitually rely upon existing cognitive frameworks even when they become redundant. This study examined the relationship between individuals' proclivity toward Einstellung and the number and innovativeness of business opportunities they identified. Our results suggest that the Einstellung effect was negatively related to the number as well as the innovativeness of opportunities people identified. These findings indicate that habitual reliance upon existing cognitive frameworks can sometimes have negative consequences for the critical entrepreneurial ability of opportunity identification.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Small Business Management
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)927-942
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 07.2019