Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Entrepreneurial learning: a narrative-based conceptual model

By David Rae


Purpose – Entrepreneurial learning is an important area of enquiry which is not well understood in either the academic study of entrepreneurship or the practical development of new entrepreneurs. The article aims to explore two questions: first, how do people learn to work in entrepreneurial ways – are there significant processes and experiences in their learning, which can be related to existing learning theories? Second, can a useful framework to understand entrepreneurial learning be developed and\ud applied both in entrepreneurial practice and conceptually by educators?\ud Design/methodology/approach – The article includes a brief critical review of the theoretical literature in the areas of entrepreneurship and learning. Thematic discourse analysis is used to interpret the life story narratives of three entrepreneurs in the creative industries. Material from their learning experiences is used to support the development of a conceptual model. This demonstrates\ud connections between the emergence of entrepreneurial identity, learning as a social process, opportunity recognition, and venture formation as a negotiated activity.\ud Findings – The principal finding is to propose a conceptual framework of entrepreneurial learning as a triadic model, including major themes of personal and social emergence, contextual learning, the negotiated enterprise, and a group of 11 related sub-themes. Practical implications – Applications of the model in entrepreneurship education, work-based learning and practice, are proposed, within and beyond the context of the creative media industry.\ud Originality/value – The paper develops an original and distinctive conceptual understanding of entrepreneurial learning through analysis of entrepreneurs’ experiences, based on a social learning and constructionist perspective

Topics: N100 Business studies
Year: 2005
DOI identifier: 10.1108/14626000510612259
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2003). 21st century pragmatism: universities and entrepreneurship education and development”, paper presented at
  2. (2001). A dynamic model of entrepreneurial learning”,
  3. (1990). A paradigm of entrepreneurship: entrepreneurial management”, doi
  4. (1957). A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, doi
  5. (2002). An intentions-based model of entrepreneurial teams’ social cognition”, doi
  6. (1999). An Invitation to Social Construction, Sage, doi
  7. (2000). Attitudes to formal business training amongst entrepreneurs in the cultural industries: situated business learning through ‘doing with others’”, doi
  8. (1994). Case Study Research: Design and Methods, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA. Further reading
  9. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity, doi
  10. (1973). Competition and Entrepreneurship, doi
  11. (1998). Constructivist, interpretivist approaches to human inquiry”,
  12. (1993). Conversational Realities: Constructing Life Through Language, doi
  13. (2001). Editor’s introduction: Low and MacMillan ten years on: achievements and future directions for entrepreneurship research”,
  14. (2003). Entrepreneurial identity and capability: the role of learning”,
  15. (1998). Entrepreneurial learning and the growth process in SMEs”, doi
  16. (1996). Entrepreneurship and small business management: can we afford to neglect them in the twenty-first century business school?”, doi
  17. (2000). Entrepreneurship and Small Firms, doi
  18. (1999). Entrepreneurship education within the enterprise culture”, doi
  19. (1986). Entrepreneurship through social networks”,
  20. (1997). Entrepreneurship, Democratic Action and the Cultivation of Solidarity, doi
  21. (1997). Entrepreneurship: one more time – non-cognitive characteristics that make the cognitive click”,
  22. (2001). Evolving conversations: a look at the convergence in entrepreneurship research”, paper presented at the Babson/Kaufman Entrepreneurship Research Conference,
  23. (1989). Language Games and Texts of Identity,
  24. (2004). Learning about the unknown: how fast do entrepreneurs adjust their beliefs?”, paper presented at 49th ICSB World Conference,
  25. (2000). Learning by doing: an exploration of critical incidents and reflection in entrepreneurial learning”, doi
  26. (1991). Logic: the theory of enquiry”, in
  27. (1934). Mind, Self and Society, doi
  28. (2004). Narrative and Discursive Approaches in Entrepreneurship, doi
  29. (1988). Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences, doi
  30. (2004). Practical theories from entrepreneurs’ stories: discursive approaches to entrepreneurial learning”, doi
  31. (1995). Sensemaking in Organizations, Sage, doi
  32. (2002). Social constructionism: a theoretical framework to underpin support for the development of managers in SMEs?”, doi
  33. (1986). Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory, Prentice-Hall,
  34. (1997). Some research perspectives on entrepreneurship education, enterprise education and education for small business management: a ten-year literature review”, doi
  35. (1977). The Conditions of Learning,
  36. (1993). The enterprise culture and education”, doi
  37. (1999). The Independents: Britain’s New Cultural Entrepreneurs,
  38. (2000). The Landscape of Qualitative Research, Sage, doi
  39. (1934). The Theory of Economic Development, doi
  40. (1994). Toward a theory of entrepreneurial careers”,
  41. (2001). Towards a conceptual understanding of entrepreneurial learning”, doi
  42. (2002). Towards a theory of entrepreneurialcognition”,

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.