Coping with the influence of fear of failure on entrepreneurial action
This study explores how fear of failure influences entrepreneurial action and how entrepreneurs cope with this influence. This research’ aim has led to the following research question: “How do entrepreneurs cope with the influence of fear of failure on entrepreneurial action?”. Eight semi-structured in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs were conducted to answer this research question. The analysis led to the conclusion that fear of failure can have a motivating and an inhibiting effect on entrepreneurial action. However, all eight respondents were unanimous about the most common motivating effect of fear of failure. An inhibiting effect was sometimes found when especially the financial risk of failure was too high to bear, and financial obligations towards employees were put at risk. Entrepreneurs subsequently used coping responses to deal with the influence of fear of failure on entrepreneurial action. All entrepreneurs used problem-focused coping strategies to control a fear-inducing situation, specifically gathering information and making decisions. Before problem-focused coping, most of the respondents used emotion-focused coping strategies and/or avoidance-focused coping strategies. These two strategies helped entrepreneurs cope with the emotional distress before utilising problem-focused coping strategies to help generate entrepreneurial action. This research concludes that fear of failure most often has a motivating influence on entrepreneurial action. Entrepreneurs then use problem-focused coping strategies, generally in conjunction with emotion-focused and avoidance-focused coping strategies, to cope with the influence of fear of failure on entrepreneurial action.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen