Deliberate practice of entrepreneurial learning and self-efficacy: the moderating effect of entrepreneurial parental environment as role modeling


  • Chereau Philippe
  • Meschi Pierre-Xavier

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Purpose This study explores the relationship between intense exposure to entrepreneurship education and training (EET), defined as the deliberate practice of entrepreneurial learning, and self-efficacy, for entrepreneurs in the post-creation stage. When analyzing this relationship, we account for individuals' entrepreneurial experience gained through parental ties with entrepreneurs as a moderating variable. In doing so, our research aims to contribute to the literature on the relationship between EET and entrepreneurial self-efficacy in several ways. First, we address the relationship by bridging the gap between intention and action in the context of actual entrepreneurs engaged in the early stages of their new ventures. In doing so and drawing on the theory of planned behavior, we complement the important stream of research on entrepreneurial intention by highlighting antecedents of entrepreneurial self-efficacy in the post-creation stage. Second, when analyzing the relationship between EET and self-efficacy for actual entrepreneurs, we approach EET as a deliberate practice of voluntary exposure to new entrepreneurial knowledge. Third, we provide new insights into the EET–self-efficacy relationship by exploring the moderating effect of entrepreneurial vicarious learning and, more specifically, the individual's embeddedness in an entrepreneurial parental environment. Finally, drawing from Kirkpatrick's (1959a, b, 1960a, b, 1996) reference framework on training and education evaluation, we provide empirical observations of EET outcomes evaluated in the later (“behavior” and “results”) stages. Design/methodology/approach Drawing on the theory of planned behavior as well as role modeling and absorptive capacity, we develop hypotheses that we examine using a sample of 76 French entrepreneurs who have created new ventures since less than five years. Findings The results show no significant direct influence of the intensity of EET on the different dimensions used to measure entrepreneurial self-efficacy. However, we find that entrepreneurial parental environment and non-entrepreneurial parental environment constitute two distinct moderating learning contexts leading to opposite EET intensity–self-efficacy relationships. Originality/value Our research has several implications for both scholars and practitioners. From a theoretical standpoint, we extend the debate on direct and vicarious experiences and their respective impact on self-efficacy (Bandura, 1977; Baron and Henry, 2010). In the context of actual entrepreneurs in the post-creation stage, our results neither support nor invalidate the superiority of one specific type of experience. In our research, vicarious experience appears fully effective when interacted with other sources of learning such as EET. As such, theoretical attention should shift from the stand-alone effect of vicarious experience on self-efficacy to its fostering effect on other learning sources. Rather than opposing these two (direct and vicarious) types of experiences, future research should theorize their joint effect on entrepreneurial self-efficacy. Moreover, in showing the importance of entrepreneurial parental environment, our research responds to the call to further study the contingent factors enhancing the impact of EET (and deliberate practice of entrepreneurial learning) on entrepreneurial self-efficacy (Fayolle and Gailly, 2015; Litzky et al. , 2020; Rideout and Gray, 2013). From a practical standpoint, our results help formulate recommendations on how to design EET programs to enhance nascent and actual entrepreneurs' self-efficacy. Given the central role of an entrepreneurial parental environment in developing self-efficacy, we suggest that, in addition to teaching traditional entrepreneurial academic content, EET programs should allow students to vicariously experience the entrepreneur's curriculum through in-depth role modeling. More precisely, this role modeling should go beyond mere testimonials and engage students in trusted, intense, repeated interactions with inspiring instructors, both entrepreneurs and lecturers, to create and activate the fostering conditions of an entrepreneurial (parental) environment. In simulating quasi-parental role modeling within EET programs, academic institutions can contextualize the positive impact of EET on entrepreneurial venturing.

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