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Exploring the affect heuristic in Iranian women entrepreneurs

Pouria Nouri (Faculty of Entrepreneurship, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran)

International Journal of Emerging Markets

ISSN: 1746-8809

Article publication date: 29 April 2021

Issue publication date: 2 January 2023




Heuristics are fundamental components of the bounded rationality paradigm and influence entrepreneurs' decisions profusely. On the other hand, the affect heuristic is one of the most important heuristics. The body of knowledge on entrepreneurial heuristics is scattered on the whole and very superficial concerning women entrepreneurs, given that most studies have considered women and men entrepreneurs similar in showing heuristics. The dearth of research is more evident in the context of developing countries. Thus, to fill part of the existing research gaps, this study explores the affect heuristic in Iranian women entrepreneurs.


This paper's data were gathered by conducting face-to-face interviews with 17 novice Iranian women entrepreneurs active in biotechnology, nanotechnology, advanced medicine, aerospace, textile and food sectors and analyzed through a thematic–narrative analysis.


According to the results, the main outcomes of the affect heuristic in Iranian women entrepreneurs are delaying the final decision (including an obsession with collecting too much information, overemphasizing the role of negative information and seeking external advice before making a decision), rash decisions (including evaluations based on satisfying decision strategies, too much enthusiasm about one's venture, as well as an optimistic assessment of different scenarios) and serious consideration of quitting (including too much disappointment and anger over discrimination).

Practical implications

Based on this paper's findings, novice women entrepreneurs should be heedful of their fear, which could not only delay their decisions but also paralyze their capability of decision-making. Furthermore, while under circumstances such as information overload and uncertainty, positive feelings like optimism and happiness could be very instrumental by enabling entrepreneurs to shorten the process of their decisions, women entrepreneurs should be very careful about the possible biases resulting from their positive affect.


This study is a pioneer in two respects. First, it explores women entrepreneurs' decision-making heuristics, which is often a neglected area of research. Second, coming to the conclusion that most of the research on women entrepreneurs has been conducted in the Western context, this paper focuses on the context of developing countries by targeting Iranian women entrepreneurs.



Nouri, P. (2023), "Exploring the affect heuristic in Iranian women entrepreneurs", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 223-240.



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