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Can less be more? Mentoring functions, learning goal orientation, and novice entrepreneurs’ self-efficacy


  • Etienne St-Jean

    (UQTR - Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières)

  • Miruna Radu-Lefebvre

    () (Audencia Business School)

  • Cynthia Mathieu

    (UQTR - Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières)


One of the main goals of entrepreneurial mentoring programs is to strengthen the mentees' self-efficacy. However, the conditions in which entrepreneurial self-efficacy (ESE) is developed through mentoring are not yet fully explored. The purpose of this paper is to test the combined effects of mentee's learning goal orientation (LGO) and perceived similarity with the mentor and demonstrates the role of these two variables in mentoring relationships. The current study is based on a sample of 360 novice Canadian entrepreneurs who completed an online questionnaire. The authors used a cross-sectional analysis as research design. Findings indicate that the development of ESE is optimal when mentees present low levels of LGO and perceive high similarities between their mentor and themselves. Mentees with high LGO decreased their level of ESE with more in-depth mentoring received. This study investigated a formal mentoring program with volunteer (unpaid) mentors. Generalization to informal mentoring relationships needs to be tested. The study shows that, in order to effectively develop self-efficacy in a mentoring situation, LGO should be taken into account. Mentors can be trained to modify mentees' LGO to increase their impact on this mindset and mentees' ESE. This is the first empirical study that demonstrates the effects of mentoring on ESE and reveals a triple moderating effect of LGO and perceived similarity in mentoring relationships.

Suggested Citation

  • Etienne St-Jean & Miruna Radu-Lefebvre & Cynthia Mathieu, 2018. "Can less be more? Mentoring functions, learning goal orientation, and novice entrepreneurs’ self-efficacy," Post-Print hal-01738307, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01738307
    DOI: 10.1108/IJEBR-09-2016-0299
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lisa Bagnoli & Antonio Estache, 2019. "Mentoring labor market integration of migrants: Policy insights from a survey of mentoring theory and practice," Working Papers ECARES 2019-15, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

    More about this item


    Mentoring; Networks; Psychology; Learning goal orientation; Entrepreneurial self-efficacy; Perceived similarity;

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