Unpacking the nonlinear effect of self-efficacy in entrepreneurship: Why and under which condition more is not better

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


  • Marilyn A. Uy
  • Shuhua Sun
  • Michael M. Gielnik
  • Gabriel Henry Jacob
  • John Luis D. Lagdameo
  • Armando G. Miclat
  • Enrico C. Osi

Self-efficacy exerts a positive impact on several self-regulatory functions to support goal accomplishment and performance. However, in contexts that are characterized by uncertainty and ambiguity, such as entrepreneurship, there might be a tipping point to this relationship, prompting calls for deeper investigations on the nonlinear effect. In particular, the underlying mechanisms explaining why and when the nonlinear effect occurs are unclear. Drawing on theories of self-regulation, we examine the nonlinear effect of entrepreneurial self-efficacy on venture goal progress through the entrepreneur's active feedback-seeking and venture effort. We also propose that the entrepreneur's state error mastery orientation moderates the nonlinear effect. Conducting a six-wave repeated measures study among 84 early-stage entrepreneurs in a business accelerator in the Philippines, we use a within-person approach to test our hypotheses and research model. Results suggest that self-regulatory mechanisms in terms of feedback seeking, effort, and state error mastery orientation help to unpack why and when self-efficacy exerts a nonlinear effect on performance outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPersonnel Psychology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)81-108
Number of pages28
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11.09.2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Per Davidsson and participants of the 2022 Australian Center for Entrepreneurship Research Exchange (ACERE) for their helpful comments on the earlier drafts of this manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

    Research areas

  • action regulation, active feedback seeking, entrepreneurial self-efficacy, error mastery orientation, self-regulation, venture effort, venture goal progress
  • Psychology
  • Business psychology