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Evaluating University Students’ Cognitive Style Essay

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Updated: Jun 18th, 2022

Randerson et al. (2016) explored the relationships among the nature of the business opportunity, entrepreneurs’ cognitive styles, and the logic of action. Entrepreneurial opportunities can stem from objective reality or be socially constructed; the major cognitive styles are intuition and analysis, and the logic of action can be either causal or effectual (Randerson et al., 2016). Researchers used a sample of ten organizations: they interviewed organizations’ top managers and retrieved secondary data. They discovered that identifying opportunities in the objective reality was associated with an analytical cognitive style and the causal logic of action (Randerson et al., 2016). An intuitive cognitive style was linked to socially constructed opportunities and effectual logic or the combination of causal and effectual logic. However, opportunity construction could also be related to analysis and causal logic. Randerson et al. (2016) also discovered that these relationships were not systematic and depended on the organization’s industry and market position. The findings may be applied in education since students can be taught to generate several ideas rather than follow a particular mindset.

Addressed Gaps in the Literature

Randerson et al. (2016) aim to fill the gap in the literature related to the association among cognitive styles, the logic of action, and the nature of entrepreneurial opportunities. The authors identified that existing studies explored how business opportunities could be found or constructed and the role of the entrepreneurs’ cognition (Randerson et al., 2016). However, the question of how these themes were interrelated received little attention from scholars; therefore, researchers decided to address this gap in the literature. Research into this topic has a scientific and practical value since it aims to identify entrepreneurial qualities that lead to an effective exploration of business opportunities.

Ideas and Arguments Found Stimulating

The first idea found stimulating is that the organizational context affects the identification of business opportunities. Randerson et al. (2016) discovered that some organizations developed opportunities from managerial actions, while others did not see any business opportunities until some positive or negative events occurred in their environment. This idea explains where companies get their business opportunities and how important the environment is for making entrepreneurs take action. Another stimulating argument is that some entrepreneurs rely on intuition when making business decisions, using analytical thinking only to prove the feasibility of their solutions or communicate their ideas to others (Randerson et al., 2016). It implies that intuition is an important entrepreneurial quality. Since it stems from past experience, it may be assumed that the more experienced a manager is, the more he or she is capable of identifying and creating business opportunities.

Questions and Concerns with the Main Claims

The authors’ main claim is that there is an interconnection between the nature of entrepreneurial opportunities, cognitive styles, and the logic of action. Randerson et al. (2016) asked such questions as whether the nature of opportunities affected the logic of action and what the role of intuitive or analytic cognitive styles was. An unanswered question regarding the main claim is whether certain cognitive styles and logic of actions were more effective in achieving organizational success than others.

Similarities or Disagreements Reported in The Literature

The authors explore the differences between objective and socially constructed business opportunities, an analytic and intuitive cognitive style, and the causal and effectual logic of action. The view of opportunities as objective characteristics of the economic environment is prevalent in the literature. According to this viewpoint, entrepreneurs notice facts in objective reality and turn them into business opportunities. The other point of view posits that, although objective facts exist in reality, it is the task of the entrepreneur’s imagination to create business opportunities out of these facts. Randerson et al. (2016) adhere to an opinion that objective and socially constructed business opportunities coexist. This point seems to be feasible since it is supported by other scholars and implies that entrepreneurs may both discover and create business opportunities.

Further, the authors report the differences between analytic and intuitive cognitive styles. According to Randerson et al. (2016), an analytical style takes more time to make decisions, stems from new situations, and is conscious and oriented toward reason and postpones actions. Intuition, on the other hand, is used for making immediate decisions since it takes less time to process the situation and is based on experience and trust. It seems that both cognitive styles are useful in entrepreneurship, and some entrepreneurs use both of them to make the most effective decisions. Finally, the authors cover the differences between effectual and causal logic. Causal logic is based on predicting an uncertain future, is goal-oriented, and uses analysis to make decisions. Effectual logic is means-oriented, based on controllable elements of an uncertain future, and applies imagination to make decisions. It implies that the causal logic is related to an analytic cognitive style, while the effectual logic is linked to intuition.

Future Research Directions

Future studies can conduct similar research using organizations that do not exploit their business opportunities. It would show if the relationships among the nature of opportunities, cognitive styles, and the logic of action were the same in this case. Furthermore, researchers can explore the effect of certain entrepreneurial behaviors on organizational success. Such a study could contribute to an understanding of the roles of analysis and intuition in organizational performance.

A Recent Work Missing

The study by Montiel-Campos (2020) explored whether cognitive styles could be used to identify students’ ability to identify business opportunities. The author discovered that students were more intuitive and less analytic than non-students, and the more intuitive students were, the higher their ability to identify business opportunities was. This finding is consistent with that of Randerson et al. (2016) because both studies emphasize the importance of intuition for discovering business opportunities.


Montiel-Campos, H. (2020). Evaluating university students’ cognitive style as reflected in their ability to recognize business opportunities. Journal of Entrepreneurship Education, 23(6), 1-9.

Randerson, K., Degeorge, J.-M., & Fayolle, A. (2016). Entrepreneurial opportunities: How do cognitive styles and logics of action fit in? International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 27(1), 19-39.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Evaluating University Students’ Cognitive Style." June 18, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/evaluating-university-students-cognitive-style/.


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