Prof. Dr. Diemo Urbig

Entrepreneurs' cognition and learning

In one project we find that entrepreneurially experienced individuals are driven by exploratory perseverance, which is characterized by exploring more alternatives for a longer time and keeping seemingly bad option within the set of options to be explored. One among the possible reasons for perseverance of entrepreneurs can, therefore, be found in a higher confidence needed to eventually exclude an option from the set of explored options.

  • Mühlfeld, K., Urbig, D., Weitzel, U. (forthcoming) Entrepreneurs' exploratory perseverance in learning settings. Entrepreneurship, Theory & Practice.

Building on Albert Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory, we suggest three major sources of entreprneeurial optimism. The theory provides a new perspective on the relationship between entrepreneurship and locus of control: Locus of control moderates the relationship between entrepreneurial self-efficacy and entrepreneurial success expectations and related entry decisions. 

  • Urbig, D., Monsen, E., Renko, M., Schjoedt, L., Tarabishy, A. (2014). Emergence of Entrepreneurship: Locus of Control Moderating the Effect of Self-efficacy. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2014(Meeting Abstract Supplement)14197. (
  • Urbig, D. (2010) Outcome Expectancies and the Interaction of Efficacy and Control Beliefs: Life, Work, and Entrepreneurship. (Doctoral thesis at Radboud University Nijmegen) Aachen: Shaker. (publisher's webpage, amazon
  • Monsen, E. & Urbig, D. (2009) Perceptions of Efficacy, Control, and Risk: A Theory of Mixed Control. In: A. Carsrud, M. Brannback (eds.) The Entrepreneurial Mind. Opening the black box. New York: Springer, pp. 259-281. 
  • Monsen, E. & Urbig, D. (2009) Entrepreneurs and perceptions of compound risk: Moderating effects of efficacy and control beliefs. Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research. 29(6), 255-270.<> (pdf).

With the study of hybrid entrepreneurship (together with Matthias Schulz), entrepreneurs keeping their wage job when starting their business, I study the decision-making that makes potential entrepreneurs entering as hybrid entrepreneurs.

  • Schulz, M., Urbig, D., Procher, V. (2016) Hybrid Entrepreneurship and Public Policy: The Case of Firm Entry Deregulation. Journal of Business Venturing, 31, 272-286. doi:10.1016/j.jbusvent.2016.01.002

Entrepreneurs' social preferences

In multiple studies I explore the social preferences of entrepreneurs. We do not focus on social entreprneeurship but on the social attitudes of the average entrepreneurs. There seems to be a tendency that entrepreneurs are more social and altrusitic than the average population. 

Biological basis of entrepreneurial decision making

Some of my studies have a strong relationship to neurobiological variables. In joint projects with Werner Bönte I explore the role of prenatal exposure to testosterone (approximated thorugh 2d:4d digt ratio) previously suggested to affect individuals' brain structures. 

  • Bönte, W., Procher, V., & Urbig, D.(forthcoming) Biology and selection into entrepreneurship: The relevance of prenatal testosterone exposure. Entrepreneurship, Theory & Practice.

In another project, I explore variables that are related to individuals' responses to gais and losses within learning settings (in text context of the Iowa Gambling Task) as well as in terms of the motivational impact (Behavioral inhibition versus behavioral approach systems). Within the Iowa Gambling Task we find that entrepreneurially experienced  individuals perform as bad as drug addicts or those with brain damages.The finding, however, can also be interpreted based on entrepreneurially experienced individuals having a higher meta-cognitive ability. 

  • Mühlfeld, K., Urbig, D., Weitzel, U. (forthcoming) Entrepreneurs' exploratory perseverance in learning settings. Entrepreneurship, Theory & Practice. 

Relatedly, in another project we demonstrate that not only are entrepreneurs seemingly less than other interprested in money, but based on a general scale measuring behavioral inhibition and behavioral approach, we demonstrate that they are generlly less interested in rewards. We do not only study entrepreneurial intent, but--as a robustness check--demonstrate the same pattern for entrepreneurial experiences.

  • Geenen, N., Urbig, D., Muehlfeld, K., van Witteloostuijn, A. Gargalianou, V. (2016) BIS and BAS: Biobehaviorally rooted drivers of entrepreneurial intent. Personality and Individual Differences, 95, 204–213.

Entrepreneurial orientation

At a few occasions, I study entrepreneurship as part of a firm strategic posture, i.e. firms' entrepreneurial orientation (EO). In a first study, which is very much method-driven, and together with my co-authors, we explore the relationship between entrepreneurial orientation and firm performance by means of a commonality analysis. This type of analysis allows us quantifying the extent to which variation in firm performance can be attributed to independent effects of dimensions or EO or to effects that are shared between all or just two dimensions of EO. Thus, we simultaneously explore the multi-dimensional and the unidimensional conceptualization of EO. It turns out that the structure of the relationship between EO and firm performance is moderated, or instance, by the industry. In the low-tech, it seems that proactiveness is by far the most important dimension. In high-tech industries, innovativeness, proactiveness, and especially their covariation matters. For larger multi-sector firms, the covariation across all dimensions matters a lot. Thus, diverse conceptualizations of EO are needed and each of them may have its justification. The the below-mentioned study focuses on a single international dataset, but we were able to replicate results with another dataset based on firms from high-tech industries.

  • Lomberg, C., Urbig, D., Stöckmann, C., Marino, L.D., Dickson, P.H. (forthcoming) Entrepreneurial Orientation: the dimensions' shared effects in explaining firm performance. Entrepreneurship, Theory & Practice. doi: 10.1111/etap.12237