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Initiating nascent entrepreneurial activities: The relative role of perceived and actual entrepreneurial ability

Manoj Chandra Bayon (Department of Business, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) Barcelona, Spain)
Yancy Vaillant (ESC-Rennes School of Business Rennes, France AND; Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Barcelona, Spain)
Esteban Lafuente (GEM-Catalunya & Department of Management, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Barcelona Tech), Barcelona, Spain)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 2 March 2015




The purpose of this paper is to examine the direct effect of two individual-level resources, one subjective and the other objective, and their interaction in influencing the business entry decision. By distinguishing perceived ability from actual ability and using theoretical underpinnings from the human capital theory and self-efficacy theory, the proposed hypotheses are tested on a data set comprising respondents from the adult population.


Using 20,046 observations from the adult population survey (APS) collected according to the global entrepreneurship monitor (GEM) methodology, a logistic regression analysis controlling for robust interaction term is used to determine the direct and interaction effect of perceived entrepreneurial ability and actual ability in influencing the decision to initiate nascent entrepreneurial activities.


The results reveal that perceived entrepreneurial ability has a distinct positive influence on the decision to initiate entrepreneurial activities and its impact is greater than that of actual abilities. Furthermore, the authors find evidence of a positive interaction effect suggesting that perceived entrepreneurial ability is a key determinant of entrepreneurial initiatives among those with high actual ability.


The main contribution of the study is to highlight the role of subjective judgements of ability in influencing entrepreneurial behaviour. Whereas prior research has found that actual ability influences new venture performance, its influence on new business entry was inconclusive. By including perceived entrepreneurial ability to the model the authors not only establish a link between objective (observable) abilities and subjective (unobservable) abilities of individuals but also suggest the mechanism through which subjective ability perception drive the business entry decisions of individuals.



Bayon, M.C., Vaillant, Y. and Lafuente, E. (2015), "Initiating nascent entrepreneurial activities: The relative role of perceived and actual entrepreneurial ability", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 27-49.



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