Are Entrepreneurs’ Brains Wired Differently?

Saad Faruque (cc)

In his recent article on neuroleadership, Neal Ashkanasy predicted that “the fad will pass…but good research will have a lasting effect.” As neuroscience continues to gain a foothold in management research, the same might be said of neuroentrepreneurship, according to an essay by Pablo Martin de Holan of EMLYON in Ecully, France. In “It’s All in Your Head: Why We Need Neuroentrepreneurship,” he asserts:

We have not yet begun to explore what neuroscience can do for entrepreneurship, and we only know how little we know. As is widely acknowledged in the field, “entrepreneurshipUntitled has traditionally focused on opportunity recognition,” so it seems natural that this appears as an obvious early area of study. Specifically, what happens in the brain of an entrepreneur that allows him or her to recognize or construct an opportunity, be resourceful, or do bricolage? Is the functioning of his or her JMI_72ppiRGB_150pixwbrain superior to other people’s, or just pathologically biased and impervious to the rather slim odds of success of most new ventures? Is entrepreneurial drive a manifestation of brain pathology? Is success in entrepreneurship related to the capacity to recognize an opportunity, or, as has recently been argued, the capacity to organize resources around that opportunity or to ignore reality? (Each, for example, involves different parts of the brain, different neuronal paths, and different skills, some of which are acquired.) Is successful entrepreneurship related to a superior ability to reason, or is it more a capacity to seduce people, or both, or neither? (Each involves different zones of the brain, and so perhaps physiological differences can explain heterogeneous results.) And are these differences created? Can they be developed? Do entrepreneurs detect opportunities faster than other people? And if they do, are they more error prone? The possibilities are vast.

Click here to read Professor de Holan’s article, forthcoming in the Journal of Management Inquiry, where the debate on neuroentrepreneurship will continue in an upcoming issue. Stay tuned as we bring you further updates and opposing viewpoints on this topic.

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