Academic journal article Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship

Influence of Experiential Learning on New Venture Creation: A Conceptual Model

Academic journal article Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship

Influence of Experiential Learning on New Venture Creation: A Conceptual Model

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Recently, there has been a growing interest in the use of hands-on entrepreneurial training in college-level entrepreneurship programs. However, there is little information about the role of experiential learning in new venture formation and success. This paper presents a conceptual model, focusing on experiential learning through the entrepreneurial internship, as an important determinant of successful new venture formation. The model examines how and what students learn from internships, and how that learning enhances entrepreneurial expertise which influences new venture creation. Implications for research, teaching, and practitioners are also included.

INTRODUCTION

Educators, practitioners, and venture capitalists agree that entrepreneurial expertise (experientially-acquired knowledge and skills), is a key component in successful new venture formation (Reuber & Fischer, 1999; Mitchell & Chesteen, 1995; Chandler, 1996; Bull & Willard, 1993). However, there is little information in the entrepreneurship literature on the role of experiential learning, in particular internships, on new venture formation. Most of the studies focused on the impact of founder's experience on venture performance. These studies used years of experience as an indicator of learning (Mitchell and Chesteen, 1995; Reuber and Fischer, 1994). According to Mitchell and Chesteen, (1995), years of experience is a crude indicator of founder's knowledge and skills. It is not surprising, therefore, that the results of these studies were mixed and inconsistent. Some studies found that experience was positively related to the success of the new venture (Chandler, 1996; Chandler & Jansen, 1992; Dyke, Fischer, & Reuber, 1992; Stuart & Abetti, 1990; Vesper, 1990; Cooper, Woo, & Dunkelberg, 1989). Other researchers found no relationship (Bates, 1990; Keeley & Roure, 1990; Van de Ven, Hudson, & Schroeder, 1984).

This inconsistency suggests that there is a gap in the knowledge base about the role of experience in new venture creation and success. There is need, therefore, for further conceptual work to better understand the impact of hands-on entrepreneurial training on new venture creation (Starr & Bygrave, 1991; Reuber, Dyke, & Fischer, 1990). The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the discussion by examining the role of experience in venture creation, from a new perspective-the experiential learning perspective.

This paper proposes a conceptual model that focuses on experiential learning (acquired through the entrepreneurial internship) as a key influence on students' ability to successfully start a business after graduation. The model examines the different ways entrepreneurship students learn from an internship experience, what they learn, and how that learning leads to the development of entrepreneurial expertise which influences new venture creation.

This paper contributes to the literature in three ways. First, it focuses on experiential learning, the missing piece in the entrepreneurship literature on founders' experience and venture success. According to Reuber and Fischer (1993), any discussions about experience and venture success must address learning, because it is through learning processes that experience produces expertise that leads to successful new venture formation. They suggested that, rather than using surrogates such as years of experience, researchers must focus explicitly on learning, to better understand how and what entrepreneurs learn from experience. Reitan (1997), in a study of entrepreneurial learning, also noted the need for further conceptual work on experiential learning and its influence on entrepreneurial attitude.

Second, the model examines experiential learning in the context of the entrepreneurial internship experience rather than from the family business experience or management experience in large organizations. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.