The Push and Pull of Entrepreneurial Careers: Reflections on Entrepreneurial Self-Efficacy

  • Author / Creator
    Dempsey, Dianna M
  • Defined as one’s confidence in their ability to successfully perform entrepreneurial roles and tasks, the construct of entrepreneurial self-efficacy (ESE) is widely viewed as a key cognitive mechanism for explaining entrepreneurial activity. Despite its growing prominence, however, important gaps in our understanding of ESE exist.
    The purpose of the first study was to investigate whether the four major factors known to contribute to self-efficacy can help account for observed gender differences in ESE. I find that the significantly lower ESE of women studied can be attributed to their lower level of prior entrepreneurial experience (enactive mastery), their lower level of positive and negative affect towards entrepreneurship (physiological arousal), and their higher likelihood of receiving failure feedback from an opportunity evaluation task (verbal persuasion).
    My second study examines the mechanisms through which high performance work systems (HPWS) may aid in the formation of ESE in two stages. I first make the link between employee perceptions of their HPWS and their engagement in creative and adaptable behaviours. I find that employees’ perception of their HPWS encourages perceptions of creative but not adaptable contributions. Next, I trace a second order effect of the HPWS on the development of ESE in employees. I find that HPWS influence the development of ESE indirectly through the experience afforded by creative contributions.
    Finally, my third study builds off conceptualizations of ‘approach’ vs. ‘avoidance’, to explore how the presence of ESE among employed individuals translates into an intentionality to pursue an entrepreneurial career. I combine entrepreneurial intentions (EI) with staying intentions (SI), and through the use of cluster analysis create four categories of entrepreneurial intentionality: incubating entrepreneur, imminent entrepreneur, employed stayer, and employed leaver. My analysis shows that combining EI and SI into profiles offers important insights into the effects of gender and ESE on career intentionality to become an entrepreneur that are missed when these outcomes are examined separately.
    My findings contribute to a more nuanced view of ESE including how it develops and how it may impact decisions to undertake entrepreneurial activities in both intrapreneurial and entrepreneurial settings over the course of an individual’s career.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2014
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Strategic Management and Organization
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Jennings, Jennifer (Business - Strategic Management and Organization)
    • Hughes, Karen (Business - Strategic Management and Organization and Sociology)
    • Inness, Michelle (Business - Strategic Management and Organization)
    • Steier, Lloyd (Business - Strategic Management and Organization)