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  • Series: European Research in Entrepreneurship series x
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Susana C. Santos, Craig Mitchell, Hans Landström, Alain Fayolle and António Caetano

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Sílvia Fernandes Costa, António Caetano, Arjan J. Frederiks and Susana C. Santos

Entrepreneurial cognition emphasizes the role of mental structures to explain how entrepreneurs think and act. The literature presents several perspectives on what these mental structures might be. Several studies have used the prototype perspective to explain entrepreneurial activities. Prototypes are abstract mental representations of objects or events, necessary to perform recognition and categorization processes, such as opportunity recognition. Even though prototype theory is very well rooted in cognitive psychology, there is no conceptual overview on how prototypes explain entrepreneurial activity. In this study we focus on prototype theory within entrepreneurship research, to have a deeper understanding on how these cognitive structures trigger entrepreneurial activity. A better understanding of prototype theory within entrepreneurship research, contributes to a better understanding of what prototypes are, and how prototypes can explain how entrepreneurs think and act. Therefore, in this chapter we have three main goals: (1) we aim to understand the foundations of entrepreneurial cognition within cognitive psychology; (2) to identify how prototype theory has been used within entrepreneurship research; and (3) to draw conclusions for future research on the predictors of entrepreneurial activities at a cognitive level, mainly at the opportunity recognition stage. Based on both our findings and the gaps in the literature that we identified, we present a research agenda for better understanding of the use of prototypes in entrepreneurship.

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Susana C. Santos, António Caetano, Sílvia Fernandes Costa and Xaver Neumeyer

This study describes the entrepreneurial potential dimensions at different stages of the entrepreneurship process for individuals with different levels of entrepreneurial experience. We used the entrepreneurial potential construct and inventory to measure the most relevant individual characteristics associated with the preparedness to engage in entrepreneurial activities. Based on the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) model, we compared five groups of individuals with different entrepreneurial experience: nascent entrepreneurs, own-managers of young firms, owner-managers of established firms, future entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs. The results showed that entrepreneurial potential dimensions evidence different patterns among individuals with and without entrepreneurial experience. These results contribute to capturing a person-situation perspective in entrepreneurship. This mapping of different competency levels associated with different entrepreneurial experiences has practical implications, and it gives important clues for targeted training activities for the promotion of entrepreneurship.

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Ricardo Figueiredo Belchior and Francisco Liñán

Although in general the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) has received significant empirical support, there are still some areas in which additional knowledge is needed. In particular, the strength of the influence exerted by the motivational antecedents of intention (personal attitude, subjective norm and perceived behavioural control) is somewhat controversial. In this regard, we argue that the original TPB fails to capture the effect of social factors on the entrepreneurial-intention cognitive process. In this chapter, we discuss the influence of individual and cultural values in the TPB, as social factors that condition the formation of entrepreneurial intentions. We argue that these specific social effects act through two mechanisms. First, they act indirectly, through the antecedents of intentions, by affecting the constructs’ self-reported levels. Secondly, they also moderate the direct effects of these antecedents on intentions. We also argue that the current operationalization of the subjective norms construct limits the model’s ability to capture the social effects involved in this type of cognitive process. This chapter provides a theoretical basis for future empirical research and contributes to a more comprehensive perspective on how entrepreneurial intentions are formed and how they are conditioned by social factors.

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Mohd Rashan Shah Robuan, Inmaculada Jaén and Francisco Liñán

The main objective of this study is to analyse the specificities and difficulties involved in developing entrepreneurship in Malaysia. This is done through a case study of a newly implemented entrepreneurship education programme (EEP) at one public university, offered to multidiscipline and multi-ethnic students in that country. This case study describes the EEP and the characteristics of the participating students. The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) is used as an evaluation framework. Data were gathered through quantitative surveys from the basic (N = 308), intermediate (N = 17) and advanced (N = 19) courses. The results show the initial interest in entrepreneurship, with the Bumiputera ethnic group scoring the lowest. As expected, participants in the elective courses exhibit higher entrepreneurial intention when compared to those taking the compulsory course. The study also highlights the very high barriers to start-up perceived by these students. This chapter is novel in that it assesses the possibility of developing graduate entrepreneurs as a means to comply with the constitutional mandate in Malaysia to improve the situation of Bumiputera.

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Gustav Hägg and Diamanto Politis

In this study we examine how formal mentorship facilitates learning for students engaged in experiential entrepreneurship education. Based on a diary-interview method we build a process model that depicts how formal mentorship relations are initiated and developed over time. Our analysis identifies critical conditions for generating a prosperous learning environment in this relation. The findings provide explanations for why certain mentorship relations are associated with different forms of learning outcomes depending on how the relations mature over time. The study shows that psychosocial support is important in the early stage, where openness, commitment and motivation create mutual trust within the mentoring dyad. In all, the study provides ample evidence in support of mentorship programs as a viable pedagogical method in experiential entrepreneurship education.

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Roisin Lyons, Theodore Lynn and Ciarán Mac an Bhaird

In instances where students work together in teams, social loafing is a phenomenon whereby students fail to contribute fairly. This chapter assesses the level of social loafing which occurs in an entrepreneurship education context, using a sample of 269 student teams (232 undergraduate and 37 postgraduate) from an Irish university. Social loafing was discussed using the Collective Effort Model as the theoretical model, where it was hypothesized that the effort the team invested in the creation of the team governance contract (‘the team signatory code’) would predict performance and social loafing. Results indicated that for both groups collective effort significantly predicted team performance. Social loafing did not have a significant relationship with performance in the undergraduate class group; however, a significant and negative relationship was viewed with the postgraduate group. This may be an indication that there may be more students willing to do more than their fair share to prevent overall poor team performance in younger cohorts. The chapter adds to the growing body of knowledge surrounding teamwork in entrepreneurship education, and offers findings supporting the use of the team-signatory code in this context.

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Inna Kozlinska, Tõnis Mets and Kärt Rõigas

The empirical study presented in this chapter addresses a major gap in entrepreneurship education (EE) research: the lack of empirical evidence that the experiential approach to teaching is associated with superior outcomes in comparison to the traditional approach. It focuses on perceived learning outcomes specifically and applies the tripartite competence framework to assess them. The analysis is based on eight semi-structured interviews with entrepreneurship educators and a survey of 306 imminent and recent bachelor’s graduates taught by the interviewed educators at four Latvian business schools. The study has somewhat unexpected results, revealing that more experiential EE does not necessarily lead to better outcomes, and in some cases is even associated with an adverse effect, and that other factors unrelated to the interventions-in-question directly exhibit significant influence on these outcomes.

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Angelo Riviezzo

The assumption that corporate entrepreneurship activities can be internally oriented (‘intrapreneurship’) or externally oriented (‘exopreneurship’) is widely accepted. However, most of the existing empirical research makes use of the theoretical construct of entrepreneurial orientation as a holistic measure of corporate entrepreneurship, without any distinction on the nature of the activities carried out. The focus of this study is shifted on the internal and external nature of actions undertaken to trigger the entrepreneurial orientation. Furthermore, it analyses if and how the balance between internal and external activities might vary under certain environmental conditions. The aim of the study is reached by using survey data from 224 Italian medium-sized firms operating in manufacturing industries. Implications of the findings and directions for future research are discussed.

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Angelo Riviezzo and Antonella Garofano

The main aim of this study is to simultaneously investigate the impact of entrepreneurial orientation, market orientation and environmental conditions on international performance of SMEs. Moreover, the moderating role of domestic environment is examined, with the objective of gaining a greater understanding of whether certain environmental conditions may increase the significance of different strategic orientations. To this aim, we use survey data from 186 Italian SMEs operating in traditional manufacturing industries. Our results show that both entrepreneurial orientation and market orientation positively influence international performance of SMEs, while the relationship between domestic environment hostility and dynamism and international performance is negative. Furthermore, while the moderating influence of environmental characteristics on the relationship between EO and international performance is positive, the moderating influence of environmental characteristics on the relationship between MO and international performance is negative. Based on these results, domestic environment can be viewed as a contextual variable that is really critical in understanding the role of strategic and firm-level dimensions.