Abstract

In this study, we examine the effect that three dimensions of fear of failure have on the propensity for entrepreneurial action. Specifically, we explore the moderating effects the fear of devaluing one’s self-estimate, fear of upsetting important others, and fear of having an uncertain future have on the relationships between human capital and self-efficacy and the propensity to entrepreneurial action (controlling for differences in opportunities). With a sample of 120 CEOs of technology firms, we find that while fear of failure does moderate the effects of specific human capital, general self-efficacy and entrepreneurial self-efficacy on propensity for entrepreneurial action, the nature of these effects differs across fear of failure dimensions. These results have important implications for understanding the entrepreneurial action of CEOs.

I would encourage you to think of fear of failure, because the fear of failure will stop many people. – One entrepreneur speaking to students

Most of the things I’ve accomplished in my life have been based on fear of failure. – Another entrepreneur speaking to students

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS (NFIB) AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN RESEARCH ON THE GENERAL TOPIC OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP

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