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Entrepreneurial learning from failure : an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Cope, Jason (2011) Entrepreneurial learning from failure : an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Journal of Business Venturing, 26 (6). 604–623.

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Abstract

This paper develops a deeper conceptualisation of venture failure from a learning perspective. Moving beyond the causes of failure, I seek to develop a richer picture of the impact and outcomes of failure and the learning processes by which entrepreneurs actively grieve for, and recover from, the loss of a business. Based on interpretative phenomenological research with eight entrepreneurs, this paper adds valuable empirical weight to extant conceptual discussions of failure. Marrying emergent literature on entrepreneurial learning with theories of failure, I propose distinctive higher-level learning processes triggered by failure that prove fundamental in personal and business terms. These learning outcomes provide entrepreneurs with invaluable insights into the 'pressure points' of the entrepreneurial process, significantly augmenting levels of entrepreneurial preparedness for future enterprising activity.