Entrepreneurial mindset: Defining a nascent construct

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dc.contributor.author Keane, Darsel en
dc.contributor.author McNaughton, Rodney en
dc.contributor.author Shepherd, Deborah en
dc.coverage.spatial Sydney, Australia en
dc.date.accessioned 2019-05-27T22:20:34Z en
dc.date.issued 2019-02-06 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/46582 en
dc.description.abstract The term entrepreneurial mindset is increasingly prevalent in government documents, scholarly research, educational offerings, and the media. However, there is little agreement on the meaning of the underlying construct. Various uses of the term suggest it may include entrepreneurial behaviours, traits, skills, capabilities, attitudes or spirit. Users of the term almost universally imply that this mindset is important as an antecedent of desirable outcomes such as resilience, creativity, innovation and new venture formation, and that the mindset can be developed and supported. However, the lack of a clear and commonly accepted definition of the construct inhibits our ability to theorize about the role of mindset, measure it, and test hypotheses about its role in the entrepreneurial process. To address this shortcoming, we begin by extracting and analysing definitions, both explicit and implied, from the emerging literature on the entrepreneurial mindset. There is considerable diversity in the definitions, and most lack the precision needed to distinguish between mindset and possibly related constructs such as spirit, or even in some cases, entrepreneurial outcomes like founding a venture. We postulate that the ongoing debate about the definition of entrepreneurship provides a partial explanation. However, more importantly, the majority of authors fail to clarify what they mean by mindset. Using French’s (2016) characterisation of the differences between cognitive, social psychology and organizational leadership, and positive psychology approaches to studying mindset, we show how the various definitions implicitly reflect one or more of these theoretic lenses, and thus shapes the how the construct is understood. To progress understanding of entrepreneurial mindset and its importance to the entrepreneurial process and outcomes, researchers need to be explicit about the theoretic lens through which they view the construct. This will guide formation of a clear definition of the construct within a particular paradigm for which a valid and reliable measure can be developed. French (2016), compares and identifies the varying conceptualizations and characterizations of mindset theory as cognitive psychology, social psychology and organizational leadership, and positive psychology. The origin of mindset research is accredited to the Würzburg School of cognitive psychology. Within this domain, mindset theory is viewed as “the tethering of a specific task and a particular grouping of cognitive processes” (French II, 2016, p. 674). Within the cognitive psychology field this theoretical understanding and characterization of mindset research remains relatively unchanged and is widely adopted by researchers within this field of inquiry. Most noteworthy is Gollwitzer and Bayer’s (1999, p. 405) conceptualisation of mindset as “the sum total of the activated cognitive procedures” while performing a given task. Within the social psychology and organizational leadership area of mindset research the defining characteristic of mindset conceptualization “is a specific focus (or filter) used throughout the totality of an individual or organization’s cognition” (French II, 2016, p. 678). Illustrative of this is Kennedy et al.’s (2013, p. 13) conceptualization of mindset as “a way of characterizing changing assumptions and patterns of thinking.” The most notable stream of inquiry within this approach is research on global mindset. The positive psychology domain of mindset research is the less theoretically developed. Mindset within this stream is characterised and conceptualised as individual or organisational beliefs (French II, 2016). Research in the area of positive psychology is still emerging. The most renowned is Dweck’s research on growth and fixed mindsets (2006, 2012). Although, presented as three distinct categories, French (2016) recognises that there is overlap between them, and they can be viewed as a continuum. Using the three theoretical lenses outlined, we offer three propositions that explore the relationship between how entrepreneurial mindset is conceptualised and characterised with how it might be examined and measured. Key to moving research on entrepreneurial mindsets forward is the adoption of a particular theoretic framework. This will allow scholarly work on entrepreneurial mindset to develop and common research methods to emerge. This paper contributes by providing a deeper understanding of the conceptualisation, construction and characterisation of an entrepreneurial mindset. Among possible applications of entrepreneurial mindset, this will have particular implications for the design and delivery of entrepreneurial educational offerings and initiatives that seek to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, and importantly, facilitate the measurement of the impact of these offerings. More generally, this paper links entrepreneurial mindset to extant theoretical understandings of mindset, thus providing a stronger theoretical underpinning for this nascent construct. en
dc.relation.ispartof ACERE (Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research Exchange) en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.title Entrepreneurial mindset: Defining a nascent construct en
dc.type Presentation en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
pubs.author-url http://acereconference.com/2019-2/ en
pubs.finish-date 2019-02-08 en
pubs.start-date 2019-02-05 en
dc.rights.accessrights http://purl.org/eprint/accessRights/RestrictedAccess en
pubs.subtype Conference Oral Presentation en
pubs.elements-id 765774 en
pubs.org-id Business and Economics en
pubs.org-id Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning en
pubs.org-id Management & Intl Business en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2019-03-10 en

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