Towards a qualitative understanding of human capital in entrepreneurship research

Dimo Dimov (School of Management, University of Bath, Bath, UK)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Publication date: 13 March 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to revisit the conceptualization and measurement of human capital in entrepreneurship research.

Design/methodology/approach

By contrasting reflective and formative conceptions, it shows that human capital is more appropriately seen as defined and formed by its indicators (education, work experience, entrepreneurial experience, industry experience, and managerial experience). It, then, explores the configurations of these indicators in a qualitative comparative analysis framework based on Boolean algebra and fuzzy-set methodology. It derives an empirical typology of the human capital of nascent entrepreneurs, based on two primary combinations of indicators.

Findings

The paper shows that the relationship between human capital and venture emergence is best represented as multiple, conjectural causation, i.e. human capital matters through certain combinations of its indicators.

Originality/value

The discussion and results offer novel and valuable insights into entrepreneurship researchers for the conceptualization and use of human capital constructs.

Keywords

Citation

Dimov, D. (2017), "Towards a qualitative understanding of human capital in entrepreneurship research", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 210-227. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-01-2016-0016

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Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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