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How do social skills enable nascent entrepreneurs to enact perseverance strategies in the face of challenges? A comparative case study of success and failure

Wadid Lamine (Department of Entrepreneurship and Strategy, University of Toulouse – Toulouse Business School, Toulouse, France)
Sarfraz Mian (Department of Marketing and Management, School of Business – State University of New York, New York, New York, USA)
Alain Fayolle (Department of Strategy & Organizations, EMLYON Business School, Écully, France)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 26 August 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to advance ongoing research in entrepreneurial perseverance. While the concept of perseverance is not new, few researchers paid attention to behavioural persistence in the entrepreneurial context. The purpose of this paper is to explore the emergence of new technology based firms (NTBF) by focusing on the role of nascent entrepreneurs’ social skills in the meeting the changes of entrepreneurial perseverance.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper the authors study the start-up phase of entrepreneurial process. The authors opted for a longitudinal case study approach in order to enhance the knowledge on entrepreneurs’ social skills and perseverance. For triangulation purpose the data were gathered using four different information sources. The use of Nvivo8 as the data analysis tool helped to impose a discipline and structure which facilitated the extraction of core insights.

Findings

This paper contributes to the understanding of the entrepreneurial perseverance in the context of new venture creation. Particularly, reading the entrepreneurial process through the lens of the perseverance strategies model (Van Gelderen, 2012) provided a way to identify and then to assess the impact of the social skills on the overall entrepreneurial perseverance and their combined impact on the performance of NTBF creation process. In doing so, the authors identify the impact of entrepreneurs’ social skills to deal with a series of entrepreneurial problems such as scarcity of resources, uncertainty and ambiguity and consequently their impact on the likelihood of survival for new ventures. The issues that arose mostly reflected the inherent complexity of technology transfer processes, the university and entrepreneurs’ diverging cultures, and the very characteristics of the start-up phase of NTBFs. The findings reveal how social skills impact the entrepreneurial paths and probable outcomes.

Research limitations/implications

This paper contributes to the understanding of the entrepreneurial perseverance in the context of NTBF creation. The findings reveal how social skills and perseverance impact the entrepreneurial paths and probable outcomes.

Practical implications

The paper has implications for entrepreneurial support mechanisms such as technology business incubators in helping them to improve the efficacy and efficiency of their assistance to entrepreneurs through the development of their skill-sets and perseverance and providing enabling networking. In addition, the research has implications for entrepreneurship education and training. Indeed, there is an urgent need to design and implement courses and programs aiming at developing soft skills in entrepreneurship.

Originality/value

In exploring networking and issues of perseverance for nascent entrepreneurs operating in new technology-based sectors, which the authors consider as an under searched area in entrepreneurial literature.

Keywords

Citation

Lamine, W., Mian, S. and Fayolle, A. (2014), "How do social skills enable nascent entrepreneurs to enact perseverance strategies in the face of challenges? A comparative case study of success and failure", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 20 No. 6, pp. 517-541. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-02-2013-0020

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited