Work experience and the generation of new business ideas among entrepreneurs: An integrated learning framework

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Abstract in Undetermined
Purpose – This paper seeks to develop an integrated framework to examine how entrepreneurs' work experience is associated with the generation of new business ideas. The framework combines human capital theory with theory and research on entrepreneurial learning.

Design/methodology/approach – A statistical analysis on a sample of 291 Swedish entrepreneurs is conducted.

Findings – The paper finds that a learning mind-set that favors exploration is the strongest predictor of the generation of new business ideas. It also finds that breadth in functional work experience seems to favor the generation of new business ideas while deep industry work experience is negatively related to new business idea generation. In addition, the paper finds indications that a learning mind-set that favors exploration is required to more fully benefit from investments in human capital.
Research limitations/implications – The study's findings add to knowledge of how investments in human capital via work experience, and the employment of a learning mindset that favors exploration, influence performance outcomes in the early stages of the entrepreneurial process.

Practical implications – The study's findings suggest that entrepreneurs should develop and nurture a learning mind-set that favors exploration as this will increase their ability to generate more new business ideas. Moreover, movements across different functional work areas appear to have great potential as sources of ideas for new products and markets.
Originality/value – Prior empirical studies have not taken individual learning preferences among entrepreneurs into account. Nor have they explicitly tested the effect of depth versus breadth in work experience. The paper thus provides novel insights with respect to how these factors interact in the process of generating new business ideas.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-74
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch