Entrepreneurial action and competencies : exploring pathways to venturing accomplishments

06 Apr 2021

Scholars often cite an entrepreneur’s actions and their skills, know-how and entrepreneurial competencies (ECs) as the most influential factors related to the accomplishment of important venturing outcomes. Yet the joint impact of these factors on venturing accomplishments is yet to be explored. This paper aims to fill this void by empirically developing and testing a mediation model exploring three EC mechanisms by which entrepreneurial actions—specifically discovery and exploitation activities—led to the achievement of specific venturing accomplishments—namely the time to breakeven and turnover achieved. Data were collected from 1150 South African entrepreneurs using an online survey. Covariance-based structural equation modeling was used to test the hypothesized model. Results show that entrepreneurial action (EA) significantly impacts on the efficiency and effectiveness of a venture through the development of three key ECs. Furthermore, the type of action taken by entrepreneurs during the entrepreneurial process differentially influences competency development and venturing accomplishments. More specifically, opportunity discovery and exploitation activities have a varying impact on EC development, as the engagement in these distinct venturerelated activities provides unique feedback for the development of appropriate behavioral scripts for specific contexts which lead to distinct venturing accomplishments. This research offers novel insights into the newly emerging scholarly conviction that engagement in the entrepreneurial process itself may affect key entrepreneurial abilities and accomplishments. In so doing, this paper builds on, and has implications for, theories of competency development and venturing performance, as well as pedagogical interventions aimed at enhancing entrepreneurship.