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Can less be more? Mentoring functions, learning goal orientation, and novice entrepreneurs’ self-efficacy

Etienne St-Jean, Miruna Radu-Lefebvre () and Cynthia Mathieu
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Etienne St-Jean: UQTR - Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières
Miruna Radu-Lefebvre: Audencia Business School
Cynthia Mathieu: UQTR - Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

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Abstract: One of the main goals of entrepreneurial mentoring programs is to strengthen the mentees' self-efficacy. However, the conditions in which entrepreneurial self-efficacy (ESE) is developed through mentoring are not yet fully explored. The purpose of this paper is to test the combined effects of mentee's learning goal orientation (LGO) and perceived similarity with the mentor and demonstrates the role of these two variables in mentoring relationships. The current study is based on a sample of 360 novice Canadian entrepreneurs who completed an online questionnaire. The authors used a cross-sectional analysis as research design. Findings indicate that the development of ESE is optimal when mentees present low levels of LGO and perceive high similarities between their mentor and themselves. Mentees with high LGO decreased their level of ESE with more in-depth mentoring received. This study investigated a formal mentoring program with volunteer (unpaid) mentors. Generalization to informal mentoring relationships needs to be tested. The study shows that, in order to effectively develop self-efficacy in a mentoring situation, LGO should be taken into account. Mentors can be trained to modify mentees' LGO to increase their impact on this mindset and mentees' ESE. This is the first empirical study that demonstrates the effects of mentoring on ESE and reveals a triple moderating effect of LGO and perceived similarity in mentoring relationships.

Keywords: Mentoring; Networks; Psychology; Learning goal orientation; Entrepreneurial self-efficacy; Perceived similarity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018-01-08
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Published in International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research, 2018, 24 (1), pp.2 - 21. ⟨10.1108/IJEBR-09-2016-0299⟩

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DOI: 10.1108/IJEBR-09-2016-0299

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