PhD defence of Wim Rietdijk on Tuesday 15 January 2016

On Friday 15 January 2016 Wim Rietdijk will defend his PhD thesis entitled 'The use of cognitive factors in explaining entrepreneurship: some empirical results.'. Supervisors are Professor Roy Thurik (Erasmus School of Economics) and Professor Ingmar Franken (Erasmus MC). Other members of the Doctoral Committee are Professor Patrick Groenen, Professor Kirsten Rohde (both Erasmus School of Economics) and Henning Tiemeier (Erasmus MC).

About Wim Rietdijk

Wim J.R. Rietdijk (1988) attended the Erasmus University and graduated with a Master degree in Business Administration and Master degree in Epidemiology. In 2010 he started his PhD with Erasmus Research Institute of Management. In his research, Wim attempts to build a relationship between economics and (cognitive) psychology. He co-authors several papers regarding the associations between cognitive factors, psychiatric symptoms and economic behavior that fit within the conceptual model of the present thesis. Furthermore, he presented his work at various international conferences including American Accounting Association, management accounting section in Orlando (USA) and NeuroPsychoEconomics conference in Bonn (Germany). He also visited the University of Michigan (Ross School of Business/Department of Psychology) as a visiting scholar for seven months in 2013. Currently, Wim is on the job market outside academia.

Abstract of 'The use of cognitive factors in explaining entrepreneurship: some empirical results.'

‘What makes an entrepreneur?’ This is an important question for many researchers in the past three decades. Although this is a fundamental question, research usually find incomplete and uncertain answers to this research question. Thus, it is of imperative importance to study novel factors that may explain entrepreneurship better. Therefore, this thesis takes entrepreneurship as a starting point to investigate the associations with two new potential cognitive factors, viz., neurocognitive measures on the one hand and self-reported psychiatric symptoms and individual differences on the other hand. Chapter 1 introduces how the five chapters fit in the conceptual model this thesis builds upon and discusses its main motivation and contribution. Chapter 2 and 3 examine the internal consistency and functional significance of important neurocognitive measures. The results provide guidelines for future research and suggest that more research is needed to fully understand what these neurocognitive measures reflect. Chapter 4 and 5 investigate the association between attention-deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD) symptoms and entrepreneurial choice and orientation. The findings suggest that there is a positive association that is primarily driven by hyperactivity symptoms. Finally, Chapter 6 studies the association between present and future temporal focus and entrepreneurial orientation in a sample of solo self-employed individuals. The results suggest that for these individuals a future focus is more important compared to present focus for the entrepreneurial orientation and that a focus on both temporal foci simultaneously comes at the expense of their entrepreneurial orientation. Taken together, this thesis presents initial results associating new potential cognitive factors that may explain entrepreneurship and opens up ample room for research in this direction.

More information

Rietdijk's PhD research project is conducted within the Erasmus Doctoral Programme organized by Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), the joint research institute of Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) and Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) of the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR).

For more information about this ceremony, please contact Ronald de Groot, Communication Officer of the Erasmus School of Economics phone +31 10 408 1762 or by e-mail:

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