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Learning by doing - An exploration of experience, critical incidents and reflection in entrepreneurial learning

Learning by doing - An exploration of experience, critical incidents and reflection in... This research explores the learning process of entrepreneurs in relation to the parallel processes of personal and business development. Building on theories of individual learning and of the business life-cycle, this paper discusses the impact of critical incidents from an individual perspective and, in particular, their role within entrepreneurial learning. A phenomenological case study approach was employed, with the sample consisting of six small business owners. The interviews concentrated on the developmental history of the business, focusing on critical incidents as they arose in the general conversation. The findings emphasise the complexity of the concept of "critical incident" and demonstrate that entrepreneurs often face prolonged and traumatic critical periodsor episodes, illustrating the emotionally-laden nature of these events. Furthermore, the critical incidents described here resulted in fundamental, higher-level learning, and highlight the need for mentoring support programmes designed to help entrepreneurs to interpret critical incidents as learning experiences, in order to increase the power of the learning outcomes. The authors conclude by stressing the need for further theory development that conceptualises the complex and dynamic interactivity between the individual and the business. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research Emerald Publishing

Learning by doing - An exploration of experience, critical incidents and reflection in entrepreneurial learning

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 MCB UP Ltd. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1355-2554
DOI
10.1108/13552550010346208
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This research explores the learning process of entrepreneurs in relation to the parallel processes of personal and business development. Building on theories of individual learning and of the business life-cycle, this paper discusses the impact of critical incidents from an individual perspective and, in particular, their role within entrepreneurial learning. A phenomenological case study approach was employed, with the sample consisting of six small business owners. The interviews concentrated on the developmental history of the business, focusing on critical incidents as they arose in the general conversation. The findings emphasise the complexity of the concept of "critical incident" and demonstrate that entrepreneurs often face prolonged and traumatic critical periodsor episodes, illustrating the emotionally-laden nature of these events. Furthermore, the critical incidents described here resulted in fundamental, higher-level learning, and highlight the need for mentoring support programmes designed to help entrepreneurs to interpret critical incidents as learning experiences, in order to increase the power of the learning outcomes. The authors conclude by stressing the need for further theory development that conceptualises the complex and dynamic interactivity between the individual and the business.

Journal

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & ResearchEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 1, 2000

Keywords: Experiential learning; Proactive approaches; Case studies; Methodology; Life‐cycle analysis

References

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