Towards a qualitative understanding of human capital in entrepreneurship research

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (SciVal)
463 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to revisit the conceptualization and measurement of human capital in entrepreneurship research. Design/methodology/approach: By contrasting reflective and formative conceptions, it shows that human capital is more appropriately seen as defined and formed by its indicators (education, work experience, entrepreneurial experience, industry experience, and managerial experience). It, then, explores the configurations of these indicators in a qualitative comparative analysis framework based on Boolean algebra and fuzzy-set methodology. It derives an empirical typology of the human capital of nascent entrepreneurs, based on two primary combinations of indicators. Findings: The paper shows that the relationship between human capital and venture emergence is best represented as multiple, conjectural causation, i.e. human capital matters through certain combinations of its indicators. Originality/value: The discussion and results offer novel and valuable insights into entrepreneurship researchers for the conceptualization and use of human capital constructs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-227
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2017


  • Formative and reflective measures
  • Fuzzy-set analysis
  • Human capital
  • Nascent entrepreneurs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Towards a qualitative understanding of human capital in entrepreneurship research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this