Self-awareness of mastery and improvability of entrepreneurial competence in small businesses in the agrifood sector

T. Lans, H.J.A. Biemans, M. Mulder, J.A.A.M. Verstegen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


An important assumption of entrepreneurial competence is that (at least part of) it can be learned and developed. However, human resources development (HRD) practices aimed at further strengthening and developing small-business owner–managers' entrepreneurial competence are complex and underdeveloped. A multisource assessment of owner–managers' entrepreneurial competence in a well-defined sector was conducted to provide an answer to the research question: How do self-assessments about mastery and improvability of entrepreneurial competence made by owner–managers relate to the same assessments made by significant others in the small-business work environment? The data show that owner–managers rate their own mastery of entrepreneurial competence significantly lower than internal assessors in their work environment do. Furthermore, the assessors indicate many possible areas for improvement of owner–managers' entrepreneurial competence. Nonetheless, mastery and improvability patterns differ considerably between the assessors. Multisource assessments as adopted in this study can help owner–managers raise their self-awareness, and consequently help them bypass some of their often costly trial-and-error learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-168
JournalHuman Resource Development Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • opportunity identification
  • other agreement
  • management
  • performance
  • congruence
  • recognition
  • personality
  • efficacy
  • feedback
  • owners


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