Once you pop, you don’t stop? Well, it depends…

This is academic research that can be explained using clear concepts and has implications, something that does not always happen!

We wanted to explore whether having direct experience of a behavior, in this case being engaged in entrepreneurship, would make you more likely to sustain that behavior. In simple terms, we wanted to test whether it is true that: “Once you pop, you can’t stop” (like the Pringles :-)).

In entrepreneurship this is quite an important issue. Entrepreneurship promotion is a key issue, worldwide, to promote economic growth. Thus, countries invest public resources in encouraging individuals to start their own firms.

The running assumption is that by encouraging people to try, then they will like it, will continue trying, and maybe will be succesfull. But what happens there is no “Pringles effect”?, what if after being directly exposed to “being an entrepreneur”, the feeling is that I would rather not keep doing it?

This is what motivated us to write the paper “Does Direct Experience Matter? Examining the Consequences of Current Entrepreneurial Behavior on Entrepreneurial Intention”.

What we found is quite interesting! We observed that being exposed to the actual behavior (being an entrepreneur) has different effects depending on your age! If you are a young entrepreneur (less than 35 years old), you are more likely to feel that the experience actually increases your perception that it is “cool” to be an entrepreneur, and that you can actually do it!. For “old” entrepreneurs (over 35 years) being engaged in the behavior makes them realize that they are not actually as good as they had imagined!

Therefore there is no homogenous “Pringles effect” for entrepreneurship. If we want to have more entrepreneurs, we need to be ready to offer some additional support and preparation for the “old” entrepreneur category if we do not want them to drop out. For the young entrepreneurs, we actually should allow them to try it, and give them a chance to do it often. As a result, we could say that some of the entrepreneurship policies we have in place, are not such a bad idea, getting people exposed to the behavior can actually help change their perceptions!

References:

  • Miralles, F., Giones, F., & Gozun, B. (2016). Does direct experience matter? Examining the consequences of current entrepreneurial behavior on entrepreneurial intention. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, (forthcoming). doi:10.1007/s11365–016–0430–7