Abstract

The steady growth of interest in entrepreneurship has had profound impacts on the ways laypeople and experts alike see and think about entrepreneurship. It has become commonplace to hold very successful entrepreneurs as typical examples of the unique vision and determination of entrepreneurs. These narrations often embellish the value of entrepreneurs’ actions while discounting external factors that contributed to their success. In this way, “tales” of entrepreneurial success romanticize the actions of entrepreneurs (Shane, 2008). Considering the importance such a romanticized conception may have for investment and policy decisions made by stakeholders, we raise the questions: do people attempt to generate causal attributions for entrepreneurial outcomes as part of a sense-making process to make sense out of the inherently uncertain conditions in which entrepreneurial action is taken? And, to what extent do attributions of entrepreneurship among stakeholders account for differences in the likelihood and amount of subsequent investment? Our investigation of these questions involves development of a theoretical model and a series of hypotheses using sense-making and attribution theory logic (Weick, 1979; Kelly, 1967).

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