dr. M.N. (Magdalena) Cholakova

Assistant Professor
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Associate Member ERIM
Field: Strategy & Entrepreneurship
Affiliated since 2013

Magdalena Cholakova is an Assistant Professor of Strategy & Entrepreneurship in the Department of Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.

The research lines she is currently pursuing include:

  • Effective decision making heuristics under high uncertainty; She studies this topic in the context of angel investing (using verbal protocol analysis techniques) and crowdfunding (using quasi-experimental techniques).


  • The role of counterfactual reasoning in successful entrepreneurial idea validation; She studies this topic by using experiments with entrepreneurial and non-entrepreneurial populations, as well as by collecting longitudinal qualitative data from early-stage companies. She also develops conceptual work on the role of different types of entrepreneurial reasoning in the process of early-stage idea validation.


  • Microfoundations (cognitive and affective) of institutional complexity; She has studied how individuals with different levels of self-complexity perceive and respond to conflicting institutional logics differently. The work is both conceptual and qualitative.


  • Crowdfunding and the role of pecuniary and non pecuniary incentives in investment decisions. Her work here is based on quasi-experimental techniques.

Magdalena holds a PhD in Business Administration and Management from Bocconi University, a MPhil in Organizational Behavior from Trinity College Dublin and a MSc in Statistics from Trinity College Dublin. Her research has been published in the Journal of Management, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practrice Journal, International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior, and the Entrepreneurship Research Journal.

Research Interests: Cognition, Decision Making Heuristics, Knightian Uncertainty; Institutional Complexity, Self and Identity Complexity, Angel Investing, Crowdfunding, Entrepreneurial Reasoning.

Editorial positions (6)

  • Academy of Management Review

    Ad Hoc Reviewer

  • Journal of Business Venturing

    Member Editorial Review Board

  • Journal of Management Studies

    Ad Hoc Reviewer

  • Long Range Planning

    Ad Hoc Reviewer

  • Research Policy

    Ad Hoc Reviewer

  • Journal of Management

    Ad Hoc Reviewer

Organization Memberships (6)

  • Society for Judgment and Decision Making


  • Academy of Management


  • Society for Personality and Social Psychology


  • European Association of Personality Psychology


  • Strategic Management Society


  • Entrepreneurship Research Society

    Founding Member

  • Strategic Entrepreneurship (2017/2018)

Various studies have shown that high-growth firms, often referred to as scale-ups, are crucial for job-creation and the diffusion of innovation (Coutu, 2014). Yet, only a small proportion of firms ignite rapid growth and scale-up successfully (Jansen & Roelofsen, 2018; Josefy et al., 2015). Accordingly, interest in the factors explaining the prevalence of high-growth firms has increased, both from academic researchers as well as policy makers. By leveraging new technologies, establishing platforms and networks, redefining organizational boundaries, and developing new and scalable business models, scale-ups feed and draw upon talent, capital, institutions, and other businesses.

However, for startups or established firms to initiate and pursue rapid growth opportunities, their leaders face a multitude of challenges related to adequately scaling and aligning resources, practices, systems, and processes. Importantly, uncertainty is an essential component of fast growing organizations. Scaling up in such an uncertain environment often requires blitz action as competition is fierce and the windows of opportunity can close very quickly. This further aggravates the challenges of coping with the uncertainty as growth efforts require taking wider leaps of faith and restrict the organizations’ testing and validation capacity. Hence, leading and managing scale-ups and engaging in rapid growth over time demands specific capabilities, decisions, and behaviors of managers and poses inherent uncertainties that are quite different from those faced by startups or established organizations (Jansen, Vera & Crossan, 2009; Zahra, Ireland & Hitt, 2000). The aim of this PhD project is to shed light on these issues, having the potential to contribute to the bodies of knowledge of entrepreneurship and strategy fields while providing the leadership teams of scale-ups with relevant practical implications.

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Research Seminar
As: Contact, Coordinator
Research Seminar
As: Coordinator, Contact
Research Seminar
As: Coordinator, Contact


Visiting address

Office: Mandeville Building T07-48
Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3062 PA Rotterdam

Postal address

Postbus 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam