A Comparative Study of Entrepreneurs’ Attitudes to Failure in Technology Ventures
July 4, 2012 Editor 0
Entrepreneurs develop new technology ventures in uncertain conditions with unproven technologies and limited resources. The majority of such ventures fail. Examining entrepreneurs’ attitudes to failure may reveal much about how entrepreneurs learn and how they identify subsequent opportunities.
There is much literature on entrepreneurial failure [1-7] but relatively little that is focused on attitudes to failure [8, 9], the high-technology industry, or international comparisons. Pioneering work by the late Jason Cope applied methodologies derived from qualitative psychology to investigate attitudes to failure in entrepreneurs with recent experience of failed ventures in the aftermath of the ‘dot-com’ crash in 2001. We develop this work further, examining a wider range of geographic regions, a less intense period and focusing entirely on attitudes of the entrepreneur.
This paper examines how entrepreneurs’ attitudes to failure in early stage technology companies differ in the USA (Silicon Valley), UK (Cambridge) and Germany (Munich), and what this might reveal about entrepreneurial learning and opportunity identification in these countries. Using a qualitative approach, interviews with habitual entrepreneurs explore their experiences of failure. Techniques from qualitative psychology, including Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis are employed in the gathering and analysis of interview-based case studies to reveal emergent trends, which are then used to compare attitudes to failure within and between each country.
Based on preliminary analysis of interview transcripts and a review of the literature, a conceptual model of how to analyze failure is proposed. Emergent trends are identified within each country and then evaluated to draw comparisons between different countries. Failure represents a frequent and important component of the entrepreneurial experience. Attitudes to failure reveal insights into how entrepreneurs respond and how they identify future opportunities.
It is hoped this research will add to existing knowledge and theory of entrepreneurial failure, especially through the comparative (regional) approach and the industry-specific (high-technology) focus. It may also improve the preparedness of new entrepreneurs, with positive implications for future entrepreneurial success.
- Content Type Journal Article
- Category Research Article
- Pages 101-116
- DOI 10.1260/1757-2126.96.36.199
- Keith Cotterill, Institute for Manufacturing, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge
- Journal International Journal of Innovation Science
- Print ISSN 1757-2223
- Journal Volume Volume 4
- Journal Issue Volume 4, Number 2 / June 2012
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