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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

When fear of failure leads to intentions to act entrepreneurially: Insights from threat appraisals and coping efficacy

Hunter, Erik; Jenkins, Anna; Mark-Herbert, Cecilia


Calls in the entrepreneurship literature have advocated theory development and empirical studies exploring fear of failure. Often viewed as an inhibitory factor towards entrepreneurial activity, contemporary research has suggested that fear of failure can also motivate entrepreneurial activity. To explore this issue, we draw on Protection Motivation Theory to conceptualise and operationalise fear of failure. We find support for the notion that fear of failure prompts the adoption of entrepreneurial strategies, provided the entrepreneur believes they have the ability to act entrepreneurially, and that by so doing, their financial situation will improve. Our approach extends the literature on fear of failure in an entrepreneurship context by disentangling cognitive and behavioural aspects focusing not only on threat appraisals, but also on how entrepreneurs cope with them.


emotions; entrepreneurship; fear of failure; Protection Motivation Theory; Swedish farmers

Published in

International Small Business Journal
2021, Volume: 39, number: 5, article number: 0266242620967006

      SLU Authors

    • Sustainable Development Goals

      Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
      Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Business Administration

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