Self-regulation and dealing with uncertainty: How to support entrepreneurs to better cope with uncertain decision-making
For various reasons, entrepreneurs - especially in the start-up phase - often face the challenge of acting under great uncertainty and on the basis of incomplete information. Research is increasingly interested in the question of which psychological characteristics help entrepreneurs to cope with such uncertainties. How do they decide whether it is effective to make a quick decision based on less information? When do they prefer to initiate further learning processes to reduce the uncertainty of a decision situation? So far, the relationship between the psychological characteristics of entrepreneurs and their learning actions under the condition of uncertainty has not been deeply investigated. In the context of our research, we draw on the concept of self-regulation to explore the dynamic relationship between entrepreneurial learning and acting under uncertainty. We base this on a three-phase process model in which an individual attempts to control all three phases in order to achieve a corresponding goal.
Specifically, we address the following research questions:
- What is the relationship between entrepreneurs' cognitive self-regulatory capacity and their learning behavior in situations of high uncertainty?
- What is the relationship between entrepreneurs' motivational self-regulatory capacity and their learning behavior in situations of high uncertainty?
- What specific strategies do entrepreneurs with high self-regulatory abilities use to motivate themselves in situations of high uncertainty?
- Which domain-specific interventions can support the further development of entrepreneurial self-regulation skills in the context of entrepreneurship education?
We consider individual self-regulation skills as a central factor in why some entrepreneurs are able to design learning processes to better deal with uncertainty in decision-making situations and steer their learning in a goal-oriented way. According to this, aspects in the planning as well as in the implementation and reflection of learning processes play a decisive role. Self-regulation allows one to actively monitor and regulate one's own cognition and motivation. Self-regulated learning (SRL) focuses on the "how" of self-regulation, i.e., concrete cognitive processes and action strategies. Therefore, we are investigating the relationship between entrepreneurial self-regulatory ability and the use of cognitive and emotional regulation/ or learning strategies in uncertain situations in a one-year longitudinal interview study with >100 entrepreneurs and founders. We are cooperating with garage33 in order to have both experienced entrepreneurs and start-up founders represented in our sample. Furthermore, we are developing interventions to specifically develop and address the SRL skills of (future) entrepreneurs. The first interventions are currently being implemented with the help of a controlled cross-over design and pre- and post-test in order to develop the interventions with the help of the design-based research method. A student (about 400) and a practitioner (about 100) sample is planned. The focus is on exploring the effectiveness of different interventions to promote SRL skills, using for example the simulation GoVentureCEO as a game-based learning element.
For more information, please visit our project homepage https://srel.org/.