Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.



Degree Program

Entrepreneurship, PhD

Committee Chair

Garrett, Robert P.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Fiet, James O.

Committee Member

Fiet, James O.

Committee Member

Im, Ghiyoung

Committee Member

Davidsson, Per

Author's Keywords

exploration; exploitation; entrepreneurial learning


Entrepreneurial learning (EL), defined as “learning in the entrepreneurial process through which individuals acquire new knowledge, either vicariously or from direct experience, which has the potential to change the range of entrepreneurial actions”, is a key construct in the pursuit and development of entrepreneurial opportunities. However, the field of entrepreneurship has yet to produce a theory of learning explaining under what conditions individuals engage in differing types of entrepreneurial learning. Further, the limited research within this line of inquiry is diverse and disconnected. In this research, I attempt to advance the literature on organizational and entrepreneurial learning through the examination of a multi-level framework of entrepreneurial learning processes. I do this within a framework supported by social cognitive (or learning) theory, where I attempt to examine the relationships between the influence of prior performance, organizational factors, and personal cognitive characteristics on what an entrepreneur learns. However, my findings suggest that entrepreneurial learning is best described as a process. Rather than finding support for a model of entrepreneurial learning with learning as an outcome, the data supports a model of entrepreneurial learning focused on the process of entrepreneurial learning.