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Title: Fear of failure in entrepreneurship : a review, reconceptualization and operationalization
Author: Cacciotti, Gabriella
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 9854
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2015
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In entrepreneurship, the fear of failure has been identified as a significant barrier to entrepreneurial activity. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), the world's largest study of entrepreneurial activity, defines the fear of failure as a strong inhibitor for seizing opportunities and transforming entrepreneurial intentions into entrepreneurial actions. Contrary to entrepreneurship research, psychological theory offers a counterintuitive prediction of the outcomes of fear of failure. While early achievement theories argued that fear of failure inhibits behavior, later psychological research has found fear of failure to be dualistic in nature, sometimes motivating individuals to act while at other times inhibiting such action. Although there is no unified theory on fear of failure within the psychology literature, the theoretical background of this construct in entrepreneurship appears even more fragmented. An examination of the existing entrepreneurship literature on fear of failure reveals that scholars have used different definitions and measures to explain this phenomenon and investigate its effects on entrepreneurial behavior. Because these measures refer to a different nature of the fear of failure construct, it is very unlikely that they converge to capture the same phenomenon. Therefore, a clear understanding of the nature and effects of fear of failure in entrepreneurship is needed. In this respect, this thesis addresses the research question of how fear of failure can be defined and measured within the entrepreneurial process. Three articles have been developed to answer this research question. In Article 1, the conceptual issues associated with the current status of the literature on fear of failure in entrepreneurship and the characteristics of the entrepreneurial setting that shape the fear of failure experience are discussed. Building on these conceptual observations, Article 2 adopts a qualitative approach to investigate the experience of fear of failure antecedent and concurrent to the entrepreneurial process. Sixty-five entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs have been interviewed to show that fear of failure can be defined as a complex combination of cognition, affect, and behavior. Finally, in Article 3 four studies are conducted to develop and validate a new measure of entrepreneurial fear of failure. Findings from these three articles shed light on the fear of failure construct in entrepreneurship, which emerged as a context-sensitive phenomenon.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HB Economic Theory