Source, Outcome and Content of Experiences: A Multidimensional Perspective on IT-enabled Entrepreneurial Learning

This study examines the effects of prior experiences on subsequent performance (i.e., learning effects) in IT-enabled entrepreneurship. Our research context is crowdfunding. The nature of learning is inherently different in crowdfunding compared to traditional entrepreneurship, due to its lower entry barrier and the multifaceted channels through which entrepreneurs can gain experiences. Given the multidimensional nature of crowdfunding experiences, we focus on serial entrepreneurs and examine the variations of learning effects arising from the source, outcome, and content of experiences. Drawing insights from organizational learning theory, we posit that serial entrepreneurs, overall, benefit more from their own experiences of launching a campaign (i.e., experiential learning) than from participating in others’ campaigns (i.e., vicarious learning). For the outcome of experiences, crowdfunding entrepreneurs benefit more from others’ successes and their own failures. For the content of experiences, their own related experiences are more beneficial than others’. Based on panel data involving campaigns of 4,021 serial entrepreneurs in crowdfunding, the findings largely support our theoretical predictions.