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Entrepreneurial identity formation during the initial entrepreneurial experience: The influence of simulation feedback and existing identity

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Robert Newbery



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


The impact of a negative initial entrepreneurship experience may inhibit the emergence of an entrepreneurial identity and shut down a subsequent entrepreneurial career. Testing theories of identity development usually involve complex longitudinal studies, but the testing may be facilitated through the use of business simulation gaming. Using a quasi-experimental research design, the paper explores how entrepreneurial micro-identity is formed among business undergraduates during the initial entrepreneurial experience. In doing so, the research investigates the impact of cognitive dissonance on the salience of the emerging identity and the influence of key existing identities. The paper accomplishes this using a novel dataset derived from a business simulation game. We argue that the simulation offers a valuable resource to test theories within shortened timescales. The paper contributes to the field by problematizing the initial entrepreneurial experience of undergraduate students and supports the case for using simulation gaming as a method to support theory testing.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Newbery R, Lean J, Moizer J, Haddoud M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Business Research

Year: 2018

Volume: 85

Pages: 51-59

Print publication date: 02/04/2018

Online publication date: 19/12/2017

Acceptance date: 08/12/2017

Date deposited: 31/12/2017

ISSN (print): 0148-2963

ISSN (electronic): 1873-7978

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2017.12.013

Notes: Highlights • Extends Identity Conflict Theory to explain the impact of an initial entrepreneurial experience • The difference between observed/experienced behaviors modifies salience of emergent identity. • Shows an initial entrepreneurial experience is critical for calibrating expectations. • Innovatively uses a business simulation game under experimental conditions to test theory


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