Entrepreneurial learning in online communities
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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- Scientific articles 
Original versionSmall Business Economics. 2021, 58 1-22. 10.1007/s11187-021-00502-8
New digital technologies possess the potential to transform entrepreneurial processes, such as how entrepreneurs pursue opportunities and access funding and how they learn. How entrepreneurs learn may be transformed as digital technologies provide new spaces for learning, such as online communities. Online communities can gather thousands of participants and provide entrepreneurs with new opportunities for learning that are not limited by time, space, or social class. Yet, we know little about how entrepreneurs take advantage of the new digital opportunities of learning. To remedy this, we studied a large online community of entrepreneurs on Reddit (r/startups), where we qualitatively analyzed the top-voted 100 threads from 2018 to 2019 (10,277 comments in total). By drawing on coactive vicarious learning, a theory that describes how learning is socially constructed through discursive interactions, we outline how entrepreneurial learning is socially constructed through conversations, which are taking place in different micro-learning contexts. Through identifying distinct entrepreneurial learning conversations, we build new theory on entrepreneurial learning in online communities. Our theorizing contributes to (1) the growing research on how entrepreneurial learning is socially constructed in communities, (2) the current debate on knowledge creation in online communities, and (3) the knowledge on how coactive vicarious learning unfolds in communities.