English   Danish

2016/2017  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
Start time of the course 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 - Department of Strategic Management and Globalization (SMG)
Kontaktinformation: https:/​/​e-campus.dk/​studium/​kontakt eller Contact information: https:/​/​e-campus.dk/​studium/​kontakt
Main academic disciplines
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Management
  • Strategy
Last updated on 06-04-2016
Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors: 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 throughout the course in order to reach and justify conclusions and recommendations
  • Present written arguments and analysis that support your recommendations and conclusions
  • Consider possible extensions or modifications to existing theories based on your case study.
  • Reflect on strengths and limitations in human inference and decision making
Course prerequisites
Strategic Decision Making in Entrepreneurship:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
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 Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
* if the student fails the ordinary exam the course coordinator chooses whether the student will have to hand in a revised product for the re- take or a new project.
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 copy someone else's idea or start with your own? 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.
Student workload
Classroom hours 33 hours
Exam 50 hours
Preparation 123 hours
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

Carr, Jon C., and Daniela P. Blettner. "Cognitive Control Bias and Decision-Making in Context: Implications for Entrepreneurial Founders of Small Firms." Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research 30.6 (2010): 2.

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.

Keh, Hean Tat, Maw Der Foo, and Boon Chong Lim. "Opportunity evaluation under risky conditions: The cognitive processes of entrepreneurs." Entrepreneurship theory and practice 27.2 (2002): 125-148.

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

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

Merton, 2013.  Innovation Risk: How to make smarter decisions.  HBR, April, 2013,

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.

Tversky A., and Kahneman, D (1971).  Belief in the Law of Small Numbers.  Psychological Bulletin, 76(2), pp. 105-110

Sarasvathy, Saras D., and Nicholas Dew. "Entrepreneurial logics for a technology of foolishness." Scandinavian Journal of Management 21.4 (2005): 385-406.


Possible Cases: 

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 (Not in the HBS packet)

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 06-04-2016