Inventors and new venture formation: the effects of general self-efficacy and regretful thinking

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Authors: Gideon D. Markman, David B. Balkin and Robert A. Baron
Date: Winter 2002
From: Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice(Vol. 27, Issue 2)
Publisher: Sage Publications, Inc.
Document Type: Article
Length: 7,552 words

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This research assesses two individual differences-general self-efficacy and regretful thinking--in the context of technological Innovation. Results, obtained from a random sample of 217 patent inventors show that both general serf-efficacy and regretful thinking distinguish Inventors who started a business (I.e., technological entrepreneurs) from inventors who did not start a new business (i.e., technological nonentrepreneurs). More to the point, patent inventors, who at the time of our survey were actively Involved in new business formation, tended to have significantly higher self-efficacy. Also, while technological entrepreneurs tended to have stronger regrets about business opportunities, technological nonentrepreneurs tended to have stronger regrets regarding career and education decisions. The two groups did not differ in terms of the quantity of these regrets, implications for theory, practice, and future study of Individual differences in entrepreneurship are discussed.


The field of entrepreneurship seeks to understand how opportunities are discovered, created, and exploited, by whom, and with what consequences (Shane & Venkataraman, 2000; Venkataraman, 1997). Although the person--the entrepreneur--is central to the creation of new ventures, entrepreneurs themselves are seldom explicitly taken into account in formal models of new venture formation. For example, notwithstanding the important role that entrepreneurs play in forging new ventures and creating new jobs, research to identify attitudes, traits, behaviors, or other characteristics that distinguish entrepreneurs from others remains questionable. The goal of this article is to assess two dimensions (general self-efficacy and regretful thinking) on which entrepreneurs and nonentrepreneurs may differ.

Challenges to Research on Individual Differences in Entrepreneurship

Identifying attributes that distinguish entrepreneurs from nonentrepreneurs is central to the field of entrepreneurship; yet with a few exceptions (e.g., Baum, Locke, & Smith, 2001) a paucity of research on individual differences in entrepreneurship has been published in leading journals in the fields of psychology and management. Several theoretical and methodological challenges may explain this situation. Some scholars argued that people become entrepreneurs because of low opportunity costs (Amit & Schoemaker, 1993). Others hypothesized that individuals choose between entrepreneurial or employment careers (or a combination of the two) based on expected utility, such as income, risk, work, and independence (Douglas & Shepherd, 2000). According to disadvantage theory, entrepreneurship is a reaction to barriers in the labor market: Striving to increase their income, immigrants, minorities, and others seek entrepreneurship when they learn that their job prospects are slim (Mesch & Czamanski, 1997). A similar view suggests that new ventures emerge when people encounter insurmountable obstacles in their task environment (Timmons, 1999). The main problem with such views of entrepreneurship is lack of balance; they overemphasize environmental factors and rationality and underemphasize the role of cognitions and individual differences. Indeed, utility maximization, low opportunity costs, and workplace barriers do not necessarily lead people to start a company. Finally, the fact that many entrepreneurs--as matched up to employees with comparable backgrounds and experience--earn lower income with lower earnings potential (Hamilton, 2000) hints that utilitarian paradigms, though undoubtedly useful, fail to fully explain individual differences in this context (Mitchell & Mickel, 1999).

Inappropriate sampling techniques, questionable measures,...

Source Citation

Source Citation
Markman, Gideon D., et al. "Inventors and new venture formation: the effects of general self-efficacy and regretful thinking." Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, vol. 27, no. 2, winter 2002, pp. 149+. Accessed 21 Jan. 2022.

Gale Document Number: GALE|A110811960