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Successive failure, repeat entrepreneurship and no learning: A case study

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Author(s): Marius Pretorius | Ingrid le Roux

Journal: South African Journal of Human Resource Management
ISSN 1683-7584

Volume: 9;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: business decline | entrepreneurial process | learning | reflection | venture formation

ABSTRACT
Orientation: Current theories of repeat entrepreneurship provide little explanation for the effect of failure as a ‘trigger’ for creating successive ventures or learning from repeated failures. Research purpose: This study attempts to establish the role of previous failures on the ventures that follow them and to determine the process of learning from successive failures.Motivation for the study: Successive failures offer potentially valuable insights into the relationship between failures on the ventures that follow and the process of learning from failure.Research design, approach and method: The researchers investigated a single case study of one entrepreneur’s successive failures over 20 years.Main findings: Although the causes varied, all the failures had fundamental similarities. This suggested that the entrepreneur had not learnt from them. The previous failures did not trigger the subsequent ventures. Instead, they played a role in causing the failures. Learning from failure does not happen immediately but requires deliberate reflection. Deliberate reflection is a prerequisite for learning from failure as the entrepreneur repeated similar mistakes time after time until he reflected on each failure.Practical/managerial implications: It confirms that failure is a part of entrepreneurial endeavours. However, learning from it requires deliberate reflection. Failure does not ‘trigger’ the next venture and educators should note this.Contribution/value-add: Knowing the effect of failure on consecutive ventures may help us to understand the development of prototypes (mental frameworks) and expand the theory about entrepreneurial prototype categories.How to cite this article: Pretorius, M., & Le Roux, I. (2011). Successive failure, repeat entrepreneurship and no learning: A case study. SA Journal of Human Resource Management/SA Tydskrif vir Menslikehulpbronbestuur, 9(1), Art. #236, 13 pages. doi:10.4102/sajhrm.v9i1.236
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