Exploring the determinants of digital entrepreneurship using fuzzy cognitive maps

  • Maria J. M. Ladeira
  • Fernando A. F. Ferreira
  • João J. M. FerreiraEmail author
  • Wenchang Fang
  • Pedro F. Falcão
  • Álvaro A. Rosa


In an increasingly digital world, almost anything can now be done through a computer or smartphone. Digital entrepreneurship is capitalizing on this trend, which brings numerous advantages to firms and society at large. However, the determinants of digital entrepreneurship’s success are still unclear, as well as how they relate to each other. This study sought to develop a fuzzy cognitive map (FCM) to identify and analyze the determinants of digital entrepreneurship. Two group sessions were held with a panel of decision makers who deal with the digital entrepreneurship phenomenon every day. Based on their shared experience and knowledge, an FCM was developed and validated for this research context. Static and dynamic analyses facilitated a deeper understanding of the cause-and-effect relationships between the determinants of digital entrepreneurship, resulting in a well-informed framework that was validated by the panel members. This methodological procedure enabled an objective analysis of the dynamics behind digital entrepreneurship. The advantages and limitations of our constructivist framework are also discussed.


Cause-and-effect relationships Digital entrepreneurship Entrepreneurship Fuzzy cognitive map (FCM) Technology 



Records of the expert panel meetings, including pictures, software output and non-confidential information of the study, can be obtained from the corresponding author upon request. The authors gratefully acknowledge the great contribution and knowledge sharing of the panel members: Anabell Góngora, João Cabral, José Ferreira, Luís Frade, Pedro Pinto, and Pedro Reino. Facility support from ISCTE Business School, University Institute of Lisbon, Portugal, is also acknowledged.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ISCTE Business SchoolUniversity Institute of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.ISCTE Business School, BRU-IULUniversity Institute of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Fogelman College of Business and EconomicsUniversity of MemphisMemphisUSA
  4. 4.Department of Business and Economics & NECE Research UnitUniversity of Beira InteriorCovilhãPortugal
  5. 5.Graduate School of Business AdministrationNational Taipei UniversityTaipei CityRepublic of China

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