How Do Entrepreneurs Learn from Unexpected Experience?——A Single Case Study Based on Critical Events Learning Theory

How Do Entrepreneurs Learn from Unexpected Experience?

——A Single Case Study Based on Critical Events Learning Theory

Zhenggang Song[1]

Management School, Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tianjin, China

Liping Yan[2]

Business School, HeBei GEO university, Shijiazhuang, China

Liangxing He[3]

Business School, Nankai University, Tianjin, China

AbstractResearch purpose - Due to the characteristics of high failure rate of entrepreneurship and uncertain entrepreneurship environment, entrepreneurial learning has become a hot spot of entrepreneurship related researches. However, most researches focus on entrepreneurs but ignore the interaction between entrepreneurs and environment, especially investigation of critical events learning caused by unexpected or emergent circumstances under entrepreneurship situations. Thus, this paper, starting from unexpected critical events, discusses the structure and effectiveness mechanism of learning of entrepreneurs from critical events to deepen the understanding on the uniqueness of entrepreneurship activities and the way to improve entrepreneurship effectiveness.

Research method - This paper combines retroduction of Critical Realism with the single case study. On one hand, data are collected through many channels, such as semi-structured interview, field observation, second-hand information collection, and so on to describe events as detailedly as possible; On the other hand, strict coding principles and processes are followed to ensure the validity and reliability of the research.  

Research findings - Entrepreneurial critical events learning reflects legitimacy, competency and dominancy of entrepreneurial behavior script, and has positive influence on quality improvement of entrepreneurial behavior script. Entrepreneurial critical events learning is not only an effectual decision making process, but also a process of situated learning and cognitive development, playing an important role for enhancement of stakeholder influence capacity. 

Research limitations - Single case study is used in this paper, so it lacks the comparison and verification of multi-case study. In addition, there may be some selection biases during the process of retroduction.

Innovativeness - This study broadens the research on new enterprise generation process from the aspect of interaction between entrepreneurs and environment, and reveals the deep structure and effectiveness mechanisms that restrain entrepreneurial behaviors. It not only overcomes the problem of over-emphasis on institutional restriction and insufficient understanding on the subjective initiative of entrepreneurs in the researches from the perspective of institutional legitimacy, but also makes up the defect of over-emphasis on inpidual initiative and insufficient focus on behavior legitimacy in the effectuation theory. 

Key wordsCritical events learning Entrepreneurial behavior script Retroduction, Effectiveness mechanism

[1] 通讯作者(第一作者):宋正刚(1977- ),天津中医药大学管理学院讲师、管理学博士,南开大学创业研究中心成员,研究方向为创业学习、中小企业成长。单位:天津中医药大学管理学院地址:天津市南开区玉泉路61号天津中医药大学中院邮编:300193电话:13662111383邮箱

[2]第二作者:闫丽平(1975- ),河北地质大学商学院副教授、管理学博士,研究方向为创业管理、风险投资。单位:河北地质大学商学院地址:河北省石家庄市槐安东路136号邮编:050031 邮箱

[3] 第三作者:何良兴(1992-),南开大学商学院博士研究生,研究方向创业管理、创业认知单位:南开大学商学院地址:天津市南开区白堤路121号邮编:300071邮箱;

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