Small Business Economics

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 797–820 | Cite as

Causal ascriptions and perceived learning from entrepreneurial failure

  • Yasuhiro YamakawaEmail author
  • Melissa S. Cardon


We examine how failure ascriptions (how the core causal characteristics of a failure are identified) impact perceptions of learning, defined here as the ability to transfer knowledge from a failed venture to a subsequently started new venture. Our findings are consistent with prior work in that internal unstable failure ascriptions are associated with greater perceived learning, while external stable ascriptions are associated with less perceived learning. Inconsistent with prior work, however, we find that starting a new venture more quickly after failure enhances perceived learning for entrepreneurs who made internal unstable ascriptions. Further, entrepreneurs with external stable ascriptions have even less perceived learning when they abandon their previous domain in their new venture. Implications for research on failure, ascriptions, and perceived learning for future ventures are discussed.


Entrepreneurial failure Causal ascriptions Perceived learning Japan 

JEL Classifications

M13 M16 L26 J24 



We thank David Deeds and Mike Peng for their input on the conceptual foundation of the article. We would also like to thank Candida Brush and the seminar participants at Babson College, Andrew Corbett, Casey Frid, and Kate Richardson for their helpful comments and suggestions.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Babson CollegeArthur Blank Center for EntrepreneurshipBabson ParkUSA
  2. 2.Lubin School of BusinessPace UniversityPleasantvilleUSA

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