Nascent entrepreneur characteristic predictors of early-stage entrepreneurship outcomes


Purpose: Social cognitive theory suggests that entrepreneurs' characteristics affect entrepreneurial outcomes through interaction with their environment. This study examines the relationship between entrepreneurs' characteristics and performance in the context of entrepreneurial nascence. Design/methodology/approach: This study investigated lagged-panel responses from a sample of 100 confirmed nascent entrepreneurs. Data collected on three separate occasions included core self-evaluations, commitment, fear of failure and success. PLS analysis was used to assess mediation of commitment on the self-evaluation – success relationship. Findings: Core self-evaluations are an important predictor of entrepreneurial success in nascent-stage entrepreneurs participating in pre-venture assistance programs; positively affecting success and commitment, while negatively affecting fear of failure. Research limitations/implications: This investigation contributes to a fuller understanding of social cognitive theory as it pertains to nascent entrepreneurship. Furthermore, contrary to general expectations found in the entrepreneurship literature, the authors uncover a context where entrepreneurs' characteristics are relevant predictors of early entrepreneurial outcomes. Practical implications: Results showed core self-evaluations as a robust predictor of perceived success in nascent entrepreneurs. Administrators of pre-venture assistance programs should consider screening applicants to programs designed to assist nascent entrepreneurial opportunity development for signs of high core self-evaluations. Originality/value: This study advances theory by (1) demonstrating the value of assessing nascent entrepreneurs' core self-evaluations as a specific predictor of early-stage entrepreneurial outcomes, (2) suggesting social interaction amidst participation in pre-venture assistance programs makes commitment a salient part of perceived success and (3) providing evidence that entrepreneur-level characteristics need consideration in the context of nascent entrepreneurship and pre-venture assistance programs.

Publication Title

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development