Abstract

Building on the self-efficacy literature, we suggest that self-efficacy of online business owners plays a critical role in determining their creativity and performance. In general, self-efficacy is a major factor that influences people’s performance (Judge & Bono, 2001). Thus, in the virtual marketplace where online business owners are responsible for most of the operations, their self- efficacy is likely to affect online business performance. Different types of self-efficacy function depending on people’s tasks and contexts (Gong, Huang, & Farh, 2009), suggesting the importance to conceptualize self-efficacy specifically relevant to online business operations. Considering key activities required in a venturing process, we use entrepreneurial self-efficacy (ESE) to capture task-specific self–efficacy. In addition, because online business owners face a virtual business environment, we include virtual self-efficacy (VSE) to capture their context-specific self-efficacy. VSE is defined as “an individual’s belief in his or her abilities to use information communication technologies and accomplish work tasks virtually” (Wang & Haggerty, 2011:304). We believe these two specific types of self-efficacy, ESE and VSE, have positive effects on online business performance, through enhancing owners’ operational creativity.

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