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2014/2015  KAN-CCMVV4007U  Strategic Decision Making in Entrepreneurship

English Title
Strategic Decision Making in Entrepreneurship

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Course period Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Laurel Austin - MPP
Contact information: https:/​/​e-campus.dk/​studium/​student-hub/​aabningstider-og-kontaktinformation
Main academic disciplines
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Management
  • Corporate and Business Strategy
Last updated on 30-04-2015
Learning objectives
To be awarded the highest mark (12), the student, with no or just a few insignificant shortcomings, must fulfill the following learning objectives.
In analyzing a given case the student should be able to:
  • Integrate knowledge from the course and specifics of the case situation to arrive at conclusions and recommendations
  • Appropriately apply ideas/models/theories from the course in order to reach and justify conclusions and recommendations
  • Present written arguments and analysis that support your recommendations and conclusions
  • Present written arguments using clear concise language, logic, analytical rigor, and organization
  • Reflect on strengths and limitations in human inference and decision making
Strategic Decision Making in Entrepreneurship:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Project
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Autumn Term
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure

The quality of decisions made before embarking on an entrepreneurial venture and in the early stages of that venture have implications for achieving both the short-term and long-term goals of those involved in the venture.   Typical strategic decisions include, for example: Whether or not to start a new organization or venture, and if so, when?  Whether to go-it-alone or with partners?  If with partners, who? and, how to divide responsibilities and equity?  Whether to hire others and if so, what skill sets are needed?  Whether to accept a job in an entrepreneurial organization?  Whether to seek investors and if so, what kind? 

In this course we will use a case-based learning approach augmented by lectures as well as readings from the textbook “Founders’ Dilemmas” (Norm Wasserman, 2012) and readings from the fields of decision science and behavioral decision theory to examine difficult strategic decisions commonly faced in the early stages of entrepreneurial activities.  We will explore how cognitive processes and limitations, decision biases, and other factors such as risk perceptions and emotions impact decision processes and decision quality.  We will consider ways for individuals and teams to improve decision quality using methods and tools found in decision sciences.  The aim of this course is not to convey what the “right” decisions are; the aim is to help students improve how  they approach, structure, and make difficult, complex decisions that entrepreneurs often face, in order to have better outcomes in both the short and long term.

Teaching methods
Class sessions adhere to a case-based teaching approach, with supportive lectures as appropriate. To gain the most benefit from class sessions, students should be prepared to take active part in discussions and contribute with their unique insights to enhance the learning of the entire class. Therefore, students are asked to read required class materials and to consider the assignment questions before each session. Students may find it beneficial to discuss the assignment questions in small groups before the class meets.
Expected literature

Tentative Literature, to be finalized on course syllabus


Wasserman, Noam. The Founder's Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls that Can Sink a Startup. Princeton University Press, 2012.


Academic Literature and Media Reports

Cowan, M. (2012).  Inside the clone factory: The story of Germany Samwer Brothers.  Wired Magazine, available at: http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2012/04/features/inside-the-clone-factory?page=all

Eisenhardt, K. M. (1989). Making fast strategic decisions in high-velocity environments. Academy of Management Journal 32(3), 543–576.

Elkington, John. "Enter the triple bottom line." The triple bottom line: Does it all add up (2004): 1-16.

Hastie and Dawes, 2010.  ‘What is decision making?’ in Rational Choice in an Uncertain World, 2nd ed., Chap 2, pp 23-43. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Learner, J. and A Leamon.  2011.  A Note on European Private Equity.  HBS. 

Lovallo, D. & Kahneman, D. 2003. Delusions of Success: How Optimism Undermines Executives’ Decisions, HBR, 81(7), pp.56-63.

Sarasvathy, D. K., Simon, H. A., & Lave, L. (1998). Perceiving and managing business risks: differences between entrepreneurs and bankers. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 33(2), 207–225. doi:10.1016/S0167-2681(97)00092-9

Simon, Mark, Susan M. Houghton, and Karl Aquino. "Cognitive biases, risk perception, and venture formation: How individuals decide to start companies." Journal of business venturing 15.2 (2000): 113-134.

West, G. Page. "Collective cognition: When entrepreneurial teams, not individuals, make decisions." Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 31.1 (2007): 77-102.

Winter, G. 2012.  How three Germans are cloning the Web.  BusinessWeek.  Available at: http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2012/04/features/inside-the-clone-factory?page=all



Possible Cases: 


Fall Before Rising: The Story of Jai Jaikumar

H. Kent Bowen; Richard Squire; Sarah Vickers-Willis; Harry Wilson

Big to Small: The Two Lives of Barry Nalls

Noam Wasserman; Rachel Galper

SchmidtCo (A)

John S. Hammond

VeeV on the Rocks?

Joshua D. Margolis; Christopher Marquis; Laura Winig

Playing With Fire at Sittercity (A)

Noam Wasserman; Rachel Gordon

Savage Beast (A)

Noam Wasserman; LP Maurice

Blink Booking

William R. Kerr; Magnus Thor Torfason; Alexis Brownell

Negotiating Equity Splits at UpDown

Noam Wasserman; Deepak Malhotra

Tokyo Jane 

Rob Austin and Dana Minbeava

Founder-CEO Succession at Wily Technology

Noam Wasserman; Henry McCance

iPremier (A): Denial of Service Attack (Graphic Novel Version)

Robert D. Austin; Jeremy C. Short


Last updated on 30-04-2015