Toward Deliberate Practice in the Development of Entrepreneurial Expertise: The Anatomy of the Effectual Ask

This chapter reviews research on expertise in entrepreneurship. Over the past two decades researchers have studied expert performance in numerous professional and organizational domains (e.g. teaching, software, medicine, taxi driving), extending expertise investigations beyond traditional studies in games, sports and the arts. These streams of literature support the hypothesis that expertise develops and is sustained through both purposeful and deliberate practice in a domain. As Ericsson and Pool (2016) define the terms, whereas naïve practice may consist in nothing more than doing something repeatedly, purposeful practice is more focused on continual improvement by repeatedly engaging in practice tasks with immediate feedback. Purposeful practice is also more effortful in pushing one out of one’s comfort zone. Deliberate practice goes one step further than purposeful practice in that it requires supervision from a trained teacher. In entrepreneurship research there is a growing body of work demonstrating the existence of expertise. However, only recently have explicit mechanisms of purposeful practice been proposed and been subject to study. In this chapter we first review over two decades of scholarship on entrepreneurial expertise and then outline our own work that has posited the ‘Ask’ as an important mechanism for purposeful practice in entrepreneurship that can and should be studied if we are to develop entrepreneurship education capable of fostering deliberate practice. The chapter closes with key implications from entrepreneurial expertise to expertise research more generally, and outlines an agenda for future research on expert entrepreneurial performance.

Journal or Publication:
The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance
Nick Dew
Saras Sarasvathy
Stuart Read
Anusha Ramesh
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