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



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


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.


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.


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



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.

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