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Title: Suspense: exploring a new lens for outcome uncertainty in entrepreneurship

Authors: Chihmao Hsieh

Addresses: Research Professor of Entrepreneurship, Founding Director of Center for Global Entrepreneurship, SUNY Korea, 119 Songdo Moonhwa-ro, Songdo, Incheon, 21985, South Korea

Abstract: In entrepreneurship, we hear about the value of 'embracing uncertainty and failure', given what can be learned ex post. Instead of relying on ex post learning, this paper examines the ex ante emotional condition of suspense generated in situations involving outcome uncertainty. I investigate cognitive conditions under which entrepreneurs experience suspense, and under which they enjoy it. Empirical analysis reveals that some determinants of suspense felt by an audience (e.g., while watching a movie) are the same ones that determine suspense felt by entrepreneurs in their own lives. For example, the suspending of belief (e.g., ignoring one's own schemas) plays a role in both contexts. However, neither hope nor fear or their interaction appear to drive the typical entrepreneur's felt suspense. Besides developing a concept of entrepreneurial suspense, I relate the notion of suspense to six different areas of the entrepreneurship literature: goal-setting, risk-seeking, timing, imagination, overconfidence/optimism, and failure.

Keywords: suspense; emotion; beliefs; arousal; uncertainty; risk; future; time; entropy; opportunity exploitation; action; schemas.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEV.2021.10034211

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 2021 Vol.13 No.1, pp.27 - 62

Accepted: 14 Feb 2020
Published online: 15 Apr 2021 *

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