Title: Trust and self-efficacy in formal learning networks: the effects on entrepreneurs' capacity to act upon business opportunities

Authors: Pontus Bergh; Sara Thorgren; Joakim Wincent

Addresses: Umeå School of Business, Addres Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden. ' Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Luleå University of Technology, SE-971 87 Luleå, Sweden. ' Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Luleå University of Technology, SE-971 87 Luleå, Sweden

Abstract: In efforts to promote better realisation of business opportunities, government support of formal policy led learning networks among entrepreneurs has been a popular approach worldwide. This article uses survey data from 109 entrepreneurs who took part in formal learning networks to examine how trust in network partners influences the capacity to act upon business opportunities for entrepreneurs. Further, we examine how this influence is moderated by the entrepreneurs' own self-efficacy. Our results support a positive relationship between developing trust in other networking entrepreneurs and the capacity to act upon business opportunities. Self-efficacy was found to moderate this relationship. For entrepreneurs with low self-efficacy, results support an inverted U-shaped relationship, with the greatest outcomes reached with an intermediate level of trust. For entrepreneurs with high self-efficacy, a positive linear relationship is supported. We discuss implications for further research on trust and realisation of opportunities, and for learning network policy.

Keywords: networking entrepreneurs; trust; self-efficacy; business opportunities; formal networks; learning networks; government support; network partners; inverted relationships; U-shaped relationships; positive relationships; linear relationships; opportunity realisation; krAft programme; competence; reflection; business development; business growth; Sweden; innovation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIL.2012.048354

International Journal of Innovation and Learning, 2012 Vol.12 No.2, pp.197 - 216

Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021

Published online: 26 Jul 2012 *

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