Discerning Entrepreneurial Judgment as Reflected in Entrepreneurs’ Responses to Feedback -- Clifford Guin Hurst
Clifford is currently an Organizational Development consultant at Career Impact, www.careerimpact.net. He recently created a new personal/professional website to reflect the research he did for his dissertation: www.cliffordhurst.com. He has accepted a position, to begin in August, as Assistant Professor at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. He will be teaching management and entrepreneurship at the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business at Westminster.
An entrepreneur’s judgment is perhaps the most important asset that a start-up company has. It is scrutinized by investors; it is relied upon by team members; it is tested in the marketplace by early customers. As important as entrepreneurial judgment is, it is a difficult characteristic for others to discern and to evaluate. The purpose of this research project is to bring greater insight and clarity to the process of evaluating the judgment capacities of entrepreneurs during this critical stage of the founding of their companies. This project applies the theory of formal axiology as a lens for studying entrepreneurial judgment and decision-making by analyzing how entrepreneurs receive and respond to feedback.
Judgment is more than a purely rational process. It involves metacognition, or what Schön (1983/1991, 1987) called reflection-in-action. Rather than treating the emotional and heuristic components of decision-making as deficient variations of rationality, the concepts of metacognition, reflection-in-action, and formal axiology posit that judgment is a higher-order task than is purely rational thinking. An assessment tool known as the Hartman Value Profile (HVP) provides a way to measure the multi-faceted nature of judgment axiologically.
The current project makes use of the HVP in conjunction with qualitative interviews though a method known as axiological hermeneutics to shed new light on contemporary research into entrepreneurial cognition, with special focus on discerning the value structures that entrepreneurs must possess in order to receive and respond effectively to feedback in ambiguous situations.
Keywords: Entrepreneurship, cognition, metacognitive strategies, formal axiology, judgment and decision-making, feedback, Hartman Value Profile.