Abstract

Goal orientation research shows that entrepreneurs have higher achievement goal orientation than non-entrepreneurs (DeMartino et al., 2006), that entrepreneurs from different cultures have varying achievement goal orientation levels (Stewart et al., 2003), and that goal orientation predicts success (Sebora et al., 2009). Despite the expansive achievement goal orientation literature, the impact of learning goal orientation on entrepreneurial outcomes is glaringly missing. As learning goal orientation is strongly linked to self-regulatory processes (Payne et al., 2007), we suggest that it will have the biggest impact on outcomes when self-regulatory processes are needed. Such a situation exists when entrepreneurs are undergoing stress. Since learning goal orientation facilitates goal achievement by motivating people to work hard and smart (Sujan et al., 1994) and to self-regulate (Payne et al., 2007), we predict that when entrepreneurs experience stress, this orientation reduces the negative impact of stress. Specifically we examine the joint impact of stress and learning goal orientation on motivation and perceived ability to overcome obstacles. Motivation is critical during venture creation as the business gestation period is long (Carter et al., 1986) requiring entrepreneurs to complete many activities to establish an on-going business.

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