Chapter 27: Implicit Theories of Entrepreneurship
Jeffrey M. Pollack Implicit theories that individuals hold about human characteristics have influence in numerous domains such as morality, personality, negotiation, leadership, intelligence, work and sports (for a review see Dweck and Leggett, 1988; Kray and Haselhuhn, 2007; Maurer et al., 2003). The idea that individuals differ in their belief systems and that these structures greatly influence attitudes and behavior is common to many perspectives on human behavior. For example, Piaget asserts that the development of meaning systems is as important as logical thinking in forming behavior (Piaget and Garcia, 1991). And, Kelly (1955: 8–9) suggests that each person sees the world through their own frame of reference or their own ‘transparent template’. This social-cognitive approach is useful in an array of domains and would likely contribute to the study of entrepreneurship (Locke and Baum, 2007). Specifically, Dweck’s Implicit Theory Approach (ITA), which examines differences in goals, attributions, and motivational strategies stemming from a person’s beliefs, may be a useful tool by which the literature on entrepreneurial motivation can be extended (Hong et al., 1999; Dweck and Leggett, 1988). For example, Dweck’s ITA provides a framework for understanding a person’s affect, cognition and behavior. The use of a social-cognitive approach within the field of entrepreneurship could prove promising for understanding goal-setting, achievement and responses to business setbacks for developing entrepreneurs (Dweck and Leggett, 1988). Within the domain of entrepreneurship, a person can either hold an entity implicit theory of entrepreneurship (that is, entrepreneurs are ‘born’) or an incremental implicit...
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