Architecture of Entrepreneurial Learning: Exploring the Link Among Heuristics, Knowledge, and Action


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    We are thankful for the support that we received from the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship at Florida State University. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2007 Max Planck Ringberg Conference on Strategic Entrepreneurship. We gratefully acknowledge valuable comments from Dale Meyer, Robert Baron, Joseph Coombs, Andrew Corbett, and seminar participants at the Max-Planck Institute. Moreover, we are thankful for the guidance that Donald F. Kuratko and David B. Audretsch provided in conjunction with the feedback from two anonymous reviewers.

Tim R. Holcomb, tel.: (850) 644-7851; e-mail:, to R. Duane Ireland at, to R. Michael Holmes Jr. at, and to Michael A. Hitt at


We extend existing theories of entrepreneurial learning and highlight the effects of heuristics under two different learning contexts: experiential learning and vicarious learning. Specifically, we argue that heuristics are consequential in explaining variations in learning. In some cases, heuristics can be highly adaptive and beneficial to the accumulation of knowledge. In others, they can distort judgments and bias learning. By considering linkages among heuristics, knowledge, and action, we seek to provide a more complete model of entrepreneurial learning that allows for examination of the influence of judgments on learning and to expose conditions that can benefit or limit effective action in an entrepreneurial setting.