Entrepreneurial learning behaviour of community insiders
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Purpose The purpose of the present paper is to explore entrepreneurial learning at the centre of communities of practice. Design/methodology/approach Learning perspectives from the community of practice concept are applied to interpret and discuss results from an in-depth empirical investigation using a novel qualitative method, the Zaltman metaphor elicitation technique (ZMET), to study the entrepreneurial learning behaviour of ten coaches in a student venture incubator. The coaches are students with a certain level of entrepreneurial experience. Given their coaching roles and practices, the coaches are considered “community insiders”. Findings The findings show how the socially situated entrepreneurial learning of community insiders could be considered an adaptive process following multiple learning trajectories depending on with whom and about what the entrepreneur involves in social relationships. Practical implications Policy makers seeking to facilitate communities of practice should enable learning activities for community insiders and organic development in addition to networking events and support for the entire ecosystem in order to enable bridging of communities of practice. Originality/value The present paper focuses on the entrepreneurial learning of community insiders using a novel qualitative method, ZMET. The paper empirically demonstrates that community insiders learn through an adaptive process and participation in multiple communities of practice. This is both in interaction with the nascent entrepreneurs whom they coach as well as when interacting with other community insiders.