An empirical study of mechanisms to enhance entrepreneurs' capabilities through entrepreneurial learning in an emerging market

Hao Jiao (The School of Management, Fudan University, Shanghai, China)
dt ogilvie (Management and Global Business Department, The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, Rutgers Business School)
Yu Cui (The School of Management, Fudan University, Shanghai, China)

Journal of Chinese Entrepreneurship

ISSN: 1756-1396

Publication date: 8 June 2010



Based on behavioral learning theory, this paper argues that entrepreneurial learning plays an important role in enhancing entrepreneurs' capabilities. With increasing research attention given to entrepreneurs' capabilities, the need to explore the building mechanism has continued to escalate. The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact of changes in entrepreneurial learning approaches that influence the improvement of entrepreneurs' capabilities.


The authors sent out 1,200 questionnaires, and 226 were returned, of which 167 were usable. The authors used the difference in difference method and the ordinal logistic regression model to analyze the data and test the hypotheses.


In this paper, the authors report findings using panel data from 167 entrepreneurs. The empirical results show that changes in entrepreneurial learning influence changes in entrepreneurs' capabilities.

Practical implications

Combining theory and evidence from this study, an intertemporal learning model that suggests entrepreneurs' capabilities rest on a self‐reinforcing learning cycle of experiential learning and social network learning from stakeholders is proposed. This is a sense‐making and seizing process affected by entrepreneurs' previous knowledge and their degree of involvement in the organization, which leads them to dedicate increasing resources to the exploration and exploitation of some opportunities, following a process of improving their capabilities.


An empirical verification of the links between learning and capabilities development in the context of China's emerging economy, which has not been studied in the current literature is conducted. This paper provides implications for entrepreneurs in finding the right way to build and enhance capabilities through deployment of learning.



Jiao, H., ogilvie, d. and Cui, Y. (2010), "An empirical study of mechanisms to enhance entrepreneurs' capabilities through entrepreneurial learning in an emerging market", Journal of Chinese Entrepreneurship, Vol. 2 No. 2, pp. 196-217.

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