The Conflicting Cognitions of Corporate Entrepreneurs


Andrew C. Corbett, tel.: (518) 276-2223; e-mail:, and to Keith M. Hmieleski, tel.: (817) 257-7280; e-mail:


Research in the entrepreneurial cognition domain has demonstrated that entrepreneurs tend to draw from similar sets of event schemas when considering to start a new venture. The social cognition literature also explains that role schemas affect how individuals encode, process, and use information. In this article, we examine the interplay and divergence between the role schema of individuals in corporations and the event schemas necessary to launch a new venture. By examining these schemas together, we show how the corporate context can create tension between corporate entrepreneurs' role schemas and the event schemas necessary for entrepreneurship. We then construct a theoretical framework for explaining why this tension results in corporate entrepreneurs emphasizing certain event schemas in a manner that is distinct from independent entrepreneurs. Important implications regarding the relationship between context and entrepreneurial cognition are outlined for researchers, entrepreneurs, corporate managers, and educators.