It wasn't me: Entrepreneurial failure attribution and learning from failure

Riar FJ, Bican P, Fischer J (2021)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2021


Book Volume: 13

Pages Range: 113-136

Journal Issue: 2

DOI: 10.1504/ijev.2021.114385


Can entrepreneurs learn from failure? Using frameworks from attribution theory, we draw on unique qualitative data from entrepreneurs who had experienced failure before re-engaging in entrepreneurial activities. We find that the direction of failure attribution, as either attributed to external or internal causes, affects learning from failure differently and propose that while an excessive focus on self-attribution may harm future prospects of entrepreneurial activity, over-attributing failure to external causes might possibly hinder positive returns from learning from failure. Moreover, external and internal aspects influence how entrepreneurs learn from previously failed ventures. Failure shall not be romanticised, as it entails profound consequences for attribution and its effects on learning. Implications for research on failure, learning from failure, and attribution theory, as well as implications for practice are further discussed. Propositions for future research endeavours are derived.

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Riar, F.J., Bican, P., & Fischer, J. (2021). It wasn't me: Entrepreneurial failure attribution and learning from failure. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 13(2), 113-136.


Riar, Frederik J., Peter Bican, and Jannes Fischer. "It wasn't me: Entrepreneurial failure attribution and learning from failure." International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing 13.2 (2021): 113-136.

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