Entrepreneurial Optimism and Experience: Does the Nature of Experience Matter?

Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference (BCERC) 2007

Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research 2007

15 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2007

See all articles by Deniz Ucbasaran

Deniz Ucbasaran

University of Nottingham

Manuel Flores

University of Lancaster

Paul Westhead

Durham University

Abstract

Entrepreneurs have been found to have a greater disposition to unrealistic optimism than non-entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurial experience may, however, provide learning opportunities, thereby allowing experienced entrepreneurs to adopt a more realistic view in subsequent ventures. However, learning from experience is not straightforward. We argue that what is important is the nature of entrepreneurs' experience. Specifically, we find that serial entrepreneurs are more likely to be optimistic than portfolio entrepreneurs. Further, we find that experiences with business failure may temper optimism by providing an opportunity for learning. However, while portfolio entrepreneurs become more realistic, serial entrepreneurs appear to be immune to the potential learning effects of failure.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship

JEL Classification: M13

Suggested Citation

Ucbasaran, Deniz and Flores, Manuel and Westhead, Paul, Entrepreneurial Optimism and Experience: Does the Nature of Experience Matter?. Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference (BCERC) 2007; Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1064821

Deniz Ucbasaran (Contact Author)

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

Manuel Flores

University of Lancaster ( email )

Lancaster
United Kingdom

Paul Westhead

Durham University ( email )

Old Elvet
Mill Hill Lane
Durham, Durham DH1 3HP
United Kingdom

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