Entrepreneurial firms' acquisition of knowledge using proactive help‐seeking behaviour

Nareatha L. Studdard (Department of Management & Marketing, Arkansas State University, State University, Arkansas, USA)
George Munchus (Graduate School of Management, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Publication date: 8 May 2009



The purpose of this research is to examine how entrepreneurs in new venture creations use social competence skills, such as proactive help‐seeking behaviours, to acquire knowledge.


An investigation is conducted into how entrepreneurs, in a new venture creation, acquire business and technical knowledge utilizing proactive help‐seeking behaviour. Social competence is operationalised as a construct dependent on a number of psychological and behavioural factors. As such, proactive help‐seeking behaviour suggests that individuals will recognise a deficiency in knowledge and actively search for possible solutions to solve the problem. However, there are social costs involved during the help‐seeking process. The level of social competence skill will impact the new venture because entrepreneurs do not want to appear incompetent, inferior, or dependent on another individual or organization in the environment.


It is theorised that entrepreneurs who proactively seek help will increase their acquisition of knowledge. However, individual autonomy, reputation of the help‐giver, and gender of the entrepreneur will moderate entrepreneurs to proactively seek help.


The value of the research is that it contributes to the body of literature that examines individual and firm level constructs to understand the question of why some entrepreneurs succeed while others fail. It specifically utilises the psychological construct, proactive help‐seeking behaviour, with the firm level construct, resource‐based view to understand firm formation and development.



Studdard, N. and Munchus, G. (2009), "Entrepreneurial firms' acquisition of knowledge using proactive help‐seeking behaviour", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 242-261. https://doi.org/10.1108/13552550910957337

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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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