Learning From a Paucity of Experience: Cognitive Bootstrapping, Story Sharing, and Experimentation

Office of Alumni and External Relations    2021-09-02

Subject: Learning From a Paucity of Experience: Cognitive Bootstrapping, Story Sharing, and Experimentation

Guest: Hui Sun, PhD candidate, Northwestern University

Host: Shi XianweiAssistant Professor, Antai

Time: Wednesday, Sep 8th, 2021,  08:30-10:00

Venue: Tencent Conference (Please send email to by 12:00 Sep 7th for meeting number and password)


Entrepreneurial firms learn from experience; those in nascent markets are no exception. Extant theories predominantly assume that entrepreneurial firms learn from repeated experience. Little attention has been paid to how they learn from a paucity of experience. Through an inductive analysis of a strategic group of Classical Chinese furniture makers, we identified three processes that facilitate learning from limited experience: cognitive bootstrapping, story sharing, and experimentation. We also show that lessons learned from a paucity-of-experience environment can have a lasting impact on firms’ strategic trajectories.


I am Hui Sun, a doctoral candidate from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management. My research concerns the role of cognition in entrepreneurship, behavioral strategy, and social networks. In particular, I study learning and coordination in entrepreneurial firms and post-bureaucratic firms from a behavioral perspective. My research addresses two specific questions: First, how do entrepreneurs learn when they have limited experience to learn from? Second, how do post-bureaucratic firms coordinate when there are hard-wired cognitive limits to coordination? Prior to Northwestern, I obtained my B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in digital entertainment design from Tsinghua University.

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