The Role of Affect in Commercializing New Ideas
Adomdza, Gordon Kwesi
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Psychological attachment to an entrepreneurial opportunity may motivate the entrepreneur to persevere but can also bias decisions made in the entrepreneurial process, especially on market entry. This thesis investigates how psychological attachment to an entrepreneur’s idea influences decision making at the commercialization stage with special emphasis on control tendencies. Data collected from 106 fourth-year students from the Engineering Design Program at a top engineering-focused Canadian university revealed some interesting results. In the model estimated, the higher the subject’s psychological attachment to the opportunity, the more control oriented the subject was. Interestingly, psychological attachment is a strong predictor of control tendency even when subjects’ perceptions of projected returns (value) are statistically controlled in the analysis. Furthermore, psychological attachment correlates with proxy measures of the level of cognitive evaluation: the indication, affective constructs like psychological attachment elicit affect-laden evaluation of outcomes in a way that is divergent from the cognitive evaluation of commercialization situations. Within a framework of financial decision making, even as subjects generally acknowledged outside investor expertise in a potential commercialization partnership, the main finding was that high levels of attachment are more likely to lead to control-oriented funding preferences over optimal financing preferences. Further, alternative research explanations for control tendency failed to hold, as individual personality-type factors were not significant in explaining the variability in control tendency. Therefore, control tendency may be dependent on attachment to the creative process as opposed to an individual’s personality construct. The results provide insight into the role that affective constructs like psychological attachment and control tendency may play in important decision making in the entrepreneurship process.