To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Entrepreneurial self‐efficacy and business start‐up: developing a multi‐dimensional definition

Mateja Drnovšek (Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Joakim Wincent (Lulea University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden)
Melissa S. Cardon (Lubin School of Business, Pace University, Pleasantville, New York, USA)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 15 June 2010




The aims of this paper are to: critically review and identify gaps in current literature on entrepreneurial self‐efficacy, provide a definition of entrepreneurial self‐efficacy that addresses some of those gaps, and explore the role of entrepreneurial self‐efficacy during the phases of a business start‐up process. The research seeks to define entrepreneurial self‐efficacy using three sources of dimensionality. The first includes the particular aspect of entrepreneurship to which self‐efficacy is applied, whether to business start‐up or business growth activities. The second sources of dimensionality refers to the content of self‐efficacy beliefs (task or outcome goal beliefs), and the third source to the valence of entrepreneurial self‐efficacy beliefs (positive or negative control beliefs).


The authors build from the origins and mechanisms of the self‐efficacy construct in social cognitive theory and a synthesis of that work with prior use of self‐efficacy in entrepreneurship to propose a definition of entrepreneurial self‐efficacy that is context specific and empirically testable.


Entrepreneurial self‐efficacy is best seen as a multidimensional construct made up of goal and control beliefs, and propositions for how these two different dimensions will play a role during phases in the process of starting‐up a new business are developed.

Research limitations/implications

A well‐defined entrepreneurial self‐efficacy construct has significant pedagogical payoffs given that entrepreneurship education should also focus on social‐cognitive, psycho‐cognitive and ethical perspectives of entrepreneurship.


The proposed multidimensional nature of self‐efficacy is original and unique in its contribution, and provides a conceptual foundation to understand how capabilities along different dimensions of entrepreneurial self‐efficacy are created and nurtured. This knowledge is useful for potential entrepreneurs as well as those who support them in the process.



Drnovšek, M., Wincent, J. and Cardon, M.S. (2010), "Entrepreneurial self‐efficacy and business start‐up: developing a multi‐dimensional definition", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 329-348.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited