Abstract

The habitual entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial learning literatures assume that prior entrepreneurial experience (whether success or failure) leads to better performance in subsequent entrepreneurial endeavors because entrepreneurs learn from their experiences and implement their new knowledge (e.g., Politis, 2006). The empirical evidence, however, is inconclusive (Ucbasaran et. al, 2008). Little is known about what entrepreneurs learn from experience, which experiences lead to important learning outcomes and what influences the learning process. Cope (2003), for example, found that discontinues events can result in higher order or double loop learning. Shepherd proposes that grief experienced from firm failure can inhibit learning. Building on these insights we draw on attributional theory to help explain the antecedents and consequences of learning from firm failure.

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