Dr Magdalena Cholakova

Magdalena Cholakova

Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Connected with


Magdalena Cholakova is an Associate 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:

  • Entrepreneurial learning and early-stage 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 counterfactual reasoning in supporting effective entrepreneurial behavior.


  • Institutional complexity and strategic renewal. She focuses on the capacity of individuals within existing organizations to cope with change and pursue successful core innovations. She has addressed this topic by tapping into the microfoundations (cognitive and affective) of institutional complexity, studying how individuals' cognitive complexity affects the extent to which they perceive and respond to conflicting institutional logics differently. Similarly, she has also studied how individuals' ability to engage in both exploration and exploitation behavior can influence the organization's ambidexterity and performance. Her work here is both conceptual and qualitative.


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


  • 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: Entrepreneurial Learning, Idea Validation, Cognition, Judgment under Uncertainty; Institutional Logics, Angel and Crowdfund Investing.

Professional experience

Associate Professor

Erasmus University Rotterdam
RSM - Rotterdam School of Management
Department of Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship


Scholarly Publications (7)

Other (18)

  • M.N. Cholakova & A. Grandori (2019). Epistemically rational heuristics for judgment under uncertainty. Strategic Management Society Special Conference “Hits and Misses: Strategic Decisions in an Uncertain World”: Frankfurt, Germany.
  • M.N. Cholakova & A. Grandori (2019). Angels as scientists – Epistemic heuristics for judgment under uncertainty. Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference: Babson, USA.
  • M.N. Cholakova & J.P. Cornelissen (2018). Sailing towards an unknowable future: How different types of factual reasoning support early-stage entrepreneurial idea validation. 10th International Process Symposium on Temporality and History in Organization Studies,: Halkidiki, Greece.
  • M.N. Cholakova & V. Glaser (2017). Incubating innovation: How organizations design and enact complex clusters of routines. 9th International Process Symposium on Institutions and Organizations: Kos, Greece.
  • M.N. Cholakova & J.P. Cornelissen (2017). Being a permanent beta – How different types of factual reasoning support effective opportunity development. European Theory Development Workshop: Zurich, Switzerland.
  • M.N. Cholakova, J.P. Cornelissen & C. Andriopoulos (2017). What if I do or I don’t, had or had not: The role of prefactual and counterfactual thinking in supporting entrepreneurial reasoning. Academy of Management Annual Meeting: Atlanta, USA.
  • M.N. Cholakova & A. Grandori (2016). Neither fast, nor frugal and simple: Epistemic heuristics for strategic decision making. Academy of Management Annual Meeting: Anaheim, USA.
  • M.N. Cholakova & A. Grandori (2014). Neither biasing, nor frugal: Complex heuristics for Innovative Strategic Decision Making. SMS Special Conference ‘Microfoundations for Strategic Management Research: Embracing Individuals’: Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • M.N. Cholakova & D. Ravasi (2014). On the microfoundations of institutional complexity: Why do some individuals perceive multiple logics as conflicting while others do not? 30th EGOS Colloquium: Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
  • M.N. Cholakova & B. Clarysse, (2013). Does the possibility of making equity investments in crowdfunding projects crowd out our pro-social motivation? 10th Annual NYU-Stern Conference on Social Entrepreneurship: New York, USA.
  • M.N. Cholakova (2013). Evaluation under uncertainty: Does following the ‘what if’ path foster entrepreneurial thinking? Academy of Management Annual Meeting: Lake Buena Vista, USA.
  • M.N. Cholakova (2012). Imagining future entrepreneurial opportunities: When does it hurt to keep ourselves in the frame? 5th Israel Strategy Conference Doctoral Consortium: Tel Aviv, Israel.
  • M.N. Cholakova & A. Grandori (2012). Effective heuristics for decisions under uncertainty: Lessons from angel investing. Academy of Management Annual Meeting: Boston, USA.
  • M.N. Cholakova (2011). Integrated Differentiation: A cognitive and affective perspective to risky decision making. Academy of Management Annual Meeting: San Antonio, USA.
  • M.N. Cholakova & J. Hayton (2010). The role of affect in entrepreneurial opportunity recognition and evaluation. Academy of Management Annual Meeting: Montreal, Canada.
  • M.N. Cholakova & M. Fellenz (2010). Avoiding an early escape: The role of self-concept clarity in coping with negative change events. 15th European Conference on Personality Psychology: Brno, Czech Republic.
  • M.N. Cholakova & M. Fellenz (2009). Cognition and change: The role of self-unity, complexity and need for structure in coping and identity negotiation. International Society for the Study of Individual Differences: Chicago, USA.
  • M.N. Cholakova (2008). An individual or an interpersonal chameleon: Which personality factors support coping with identity change in organizations? 14th European Conference on Personality Psychology: Tartu, Estonia.


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 (SJDM)


  • Academy of Management (AM)


  • Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP)


  • European Association of Personality Psychology (EAPP)


  • Strategic Management Society (SMS)


  • Entrepreneurship Research Society (ERS)

    Founding Member


Media item

  • Magdalena, at home in five countries

    “I’ve lived in five different countries, so now wherever I go I never feel like a foreigner”, says Magdalena Cholakova. In this feature, the RSM Assistant Professor elaborates on how it is to live in different countries and...


Strategic Management

  • Study year: 2019/2020, 2018/2019, 2017/2018, 2016/2017, 2015/2016, 2014/2015, 2013/2014
  • Code: BAB18
  • Level: Bachelor 2, Bachelor 2, Pre-master

IM Research clinic

  • Study year: 2019/2020, 2018/2019
  • Code: BM-IMRC
  • Level: Master

Strategies for building an effective managerial skillset

  • Study year: 2019/2020, 2018/2019, 2017/2018, 2016/2017, 2015/2016
  • Code: BMME083
  • ECTS: 6 Level: Master, Master, Master, Master

Entrepreneurial Skillset

  • Study year: 2019/2020, 2018/2019
  • Code: BMSE03
  • ECTS: 5 Level: Master, Master, Master, Master

Business Strategy Skills

  • Study year: 2019/2020
  • Code: BMSM07
  • ECTS: 3 Level: Master, Master, Master, Master

Past courses

Doing Qualitative Research

  • Study year: 2018/2019
  • Code: BERMSS021
  • ECTS: 3 Level: Master

Your Future Career

  • Study year: 2018/2019
  • Code: BMMEYFC
  • ECTS: 1 Level: Master

Entrepreneurial Skillset

  • Study year: 2017/2018, 2016/2017, 2015/2016
  • Code: BM03SE
  • ECTS: 6 Level: Master

Strategic Entrepreneurship

  • Study year: 2017/2018, 2014/2015
  • Code: BERMASC027
  • ECTS: 5 Level: Master

Start Up & Growth

  • Study year: 2014/2015
  • Code: RSM09ES
  • ECTS: 6 Level: Master

Strategies for Managing and Financing your Start-up: Developing an Effective Skillset

  • Study year: 2014/2015, 2013/2014
  • Code: RSMME076
  • ECTS: 6 Level: Master, Master