Technology entrepreneurship is the exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities that are technology intensive and high-growth potential. More importantly, there is technological uncertainty and market uncertainty in the process. Due to the lack of relevant experiences, especially lack of marketing skills and management skills, most entrepreneurial activities end with failure. Therefore, in the process of new venture start-up and early growth, technological entrepreneurs need to leverage entrepreneurial learning to cope with the uncertainty. However, this theoretical problem has been neglected by the existing research. Especially, how do many technology entrepreneurs who have no entrepreneurial experience learn? Their learning motivation and the changes of learning styles are yet to be further studied. Therefore, the aim of this study is to answer these issues by using multiple case studies. Based on a systematic analysis of the existing theoretical literature on entrepreneurial learning, technology entrepreneurship, and other related literature, this paper uses four technological new ventures and provides with three findings. Firstly, the mismatch between markets and technologies, and the lack of managerial experiences are key drivers to trigger technological entrepreneurs to learn. Secondly, the nascent entrepreneurs acquire the related market knowledge, technology knowledge and managerial knowledge mainly through action learning and observational learning. Thirdly, this paper also finds that entrepreneurs’ self-confidence plays a key role in the selection of learning styles at the beginning of entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurs with strong self-confidence tend to choose action learning at the beginning of entrepreneurship. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs’ learning promotes the formation of routing, and critical events will break the routing and trigger entrepreneurs to optimize learning styles. There are three theoretical contributions in this research. Firstly, we reveal the learning goals of technological entrepreneurs. Although the research on entrepreneurial learning has emphasized the role of learning, it is still unclear that why entrepreneurs learn, especially the specific learning goals of technological entrepreneurs are still unknown. The case analysis of this study further clarifies the learning goals of the technological entrepreneurs. Secondly, we reveal the effect of individual characteristics on the selection of new ventures’ entrepreneurial learning styles. The existing research has pointed out that various learning styles should be used to achieve success in the process of start-up and growth of new ventures. However, there is a lack of research on how to choose the right learning styles for start-up. This paper points out the importance of entrepreneurs' self-confidence and analyzes its impact on the choice of entrepreneurial learning styles. Thirdly, we reveal the factor that influences the changes of entrepreneurial learning styles and emphasizes the role of critical events. How entrepreneurial learning changes in the process of new ventures development has been puzzling scholars in the related fields. Based on the study of four cases from technology entrepreneurship domain, we summarize the changing discipline of learning styles, and find that the critical event is an important trigger that leads to the changes.
Technology Entrepreneurs’ Entrepreneurial Learning: Learning Goals and Dynamic Changes of Learning Styles — Based on the Case Study of Nascent Entrepreneurs
Foreign Economics & Management Vol. 40, Issue 06, pp. 17 - 28 (2018) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.fem.2018.06.002
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Cite this article
Shan Biaoan, Li Wenyu, Lu Xifeng, et al. Technology Entrepreneurs’ Entrepreneurial Learning: Learning Goals and Dynamic Changes of Learning Styles — Based on the Case Study of Nascent Entrepreneurs[J]. Foreign Economics & Management, 2018, 40(6): 17-28.
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