Journal of Business Venturing

Wicked Problems, Reductive Tendency, and the Formation of (Non)Opportunity Beliefs

Gras, Conger, Jenkins, and Gras, 2019

Wicked problems persistently cause human suffering, endanger wildlife, and degrade the environment, and are defined by their inherent complex, uncertain, and evaluative nature. Because of these interrelated and mutually reinforcing characteristics, they are notoriously difficult to solve. We explain how the nature of wicked problems affects the way in which beliefs about opportunities to solve them are formed, and why these beliefs often prevent prospective entrepreneurs from correctly judging not only the feasibility of acting on them, but whether such an opportunity exists at all. Drawing on this research context we also help explain how unfounded entrepreneurial opportunity beliefs are formed more broadly. That is, prospective entrepreneurs making the Type I error of falsely identifying an opportunity when there is none.


Gras, D., Conger, M., Jenkins, A., & Gras, M. 2020. Wicked problems, reductive tendency, and the formation of (non-)opportunity beliefs. Journal of Business Venturing, 35(3): 105966.